Esben Lunde Larsen will trade in his post as the minister of higher education and research to take up Eva Kjer Hansen’s vacated position. Larsen himself has been the subject of scandal, both for allegations that he plagiarised parts of his PhD dissertation and gave misleading information on his CV and for his outspoken belief in God and creationism, which many critics argued made him an unfit choice for the education post.
With Larsen now taking over as the environment and food minister, Ulla Tørnæs was named as the new minister for higher education and research. Tørnæs will end her stint as a member of the European Parliament to take the post, and current MP Morten Løkkegard will replace her in Brussels.
Løkkegard’s seat in Christiansborg will in turn be filled by former MP Jakob Engel-Schmidt.
The reshuffle was prompted after the Conservative People's Party, which has just six seats in parliament but whose support is crucial to Rasmussen's minority government, threatened to withdraw its backing if the premier did not sack Kjer Hansen.
The party said it had lost confidence in the minister in a row over agricultural reforms and after several days of bluster from both sides, she resigned on Saturday, saying she did not want to “stand in the way” of the government.
Rasmussen said he had “mixed feelings” about mixing up his cabinet.
“I have said goodbye to a very, very talented minister, who loyally and thoroughly lived up to the election promises main by not only the government but by the Conservatives and [fellow support party] the Danish People's Party. But it couldn't be avoided,” he said when presenting his new team.