Denmark government announces reshuffle following minister resignations

Denmark’s Liberal party, the senior partner in the coalition government, has confirmed three new ministerial appointments.

Denmark government announces reshuffle following minister resignations
PM Lars Løkke Rasmussen (R) with new ministers (L-R) Tommy Ahlers, Jakob Ellemann Jessen and Eva Kjer Hansen. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

The appointments come in the wake of the surprise resignations of outgoing Minister for Education and Research Søren Pind and Minister for Food and the Environment Esben Lunde Larsen, who both announced on Tuesday that they would step down from their positions and leave Danish politics.

Jakob Ellemann Jessen, hitherto political spokesperson for the Liberals, takes over Larsen’s role.

Meanwhile, Karen Ellemann was relieved of her position as Minister for Fisheries, Equality and Nordic Cooperation, to be replaced by party colleague Eva Kjer Hansen, who has previously served in cabinets under two different prime ministers.

Ellemann’s withdrawal is likely to be a precursory move to a bid by her to become the party’s parliamentary group leader, with current incumbent Søren Gade set to stand for election to the EU parliament in 2019.

“I have asked Karen Ellemann to step down as minister in the sincere hope that the Liberal parliamentary group will choose her as the first female Liberal parliamentary chair,” Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen said as the changes were confirmed on Wednesday.

Pind has left his parliamentary duties with immediate effect and his deputy was previously announced as Martin Geertsen.

Geertsen, a former MP who lost his seat in the 2015 general election, was elected to regional representation in last year's local elections.

Pind’s job as minister for education and research, meanwhile, goes to consultant and businessman Tommy Ahlers, who has served on a government advisory panel and is also a television personality, DR reported on Wednesday.

Ahlers is not a member of parliament but will stand at the next election, Ritzau reports.

Larsen announced via Facebook on Tuesday that, following his resignation as Minister for Food and the Environment, he would continue as an MP until the next election, at which time he will leave parliament completely.

Denmark’s next general election will take place no later than June 2019.

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