The former leader and founder of the Danish People’s Party, Pia Kjærsgaard, is expected to be voted in as the speaker of the Danish parliament later this Friday.
Kjærsgaard has been seen by many in Danish politics as an extremely skilled but also controversial politician, often accused of being a polarizing figure.
The role is largely administrative, the main responsibilities being to provide optimal conditions for parliamentary work and to ensure that parliamentary sessions are properly conducted, as well as managing some 440 administrative staff.
She will be replacing former speaker Mogens Lykketoft from the Social Democrats, who was recently confirmed as the replacement for Uganda’s Sam Kutesa as the president of the UN General Assembly.
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Usually a fairly uneventful process where the parliament as a whole is able to agree on a single candidate, getting a majority to back Kjærsgaard’s appointment for the role was fraught with difficulty.
Kjærsgaard’s candidacy has been seen as controversial by parties in the opposition bloc, who supported former PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt’s bid to run for the role.
“The Socialist People’s Party does not support Pia Kærsgaard for the role of speaker of parliament, which we have been saying from the beginning. As speaker you must have the ability to build bridges between all the parties, and we doubt that Pia Kjærsgaard is the right person for that,” MP Jonas Dahl told DR.
The blue bloc Liberal Alliance party also demanded tax cuts in return for agreeing to support Kjærsgaard’s candidacy, a condition that was later revoked.
Kjærsgaard was reluctant to comment on the process until yesterday, when it finally became almost certain that she would be confirmed as speaker later today.
“I feel great, and obviously this means a lot. I am very proud, and it will be a great honor,” said Kjærsgaard to DR, adding that she has no intention of using the speaker role to put her party’s politics on the agenda.