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Cracks show in Denmark's opposition as allies censure Social Democrats

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Cracks show in Denmark's opposition as allies censure Social Democrats
Social Democrat leader Mette Frederiksen. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix
12:37 CEST+02:00
The Social Democrats, the largest party in Denmark’s opposition, risk losing the support of traditionally allied parties on the left due to increasingly populist policies.

The Social Liberal (Radikale Venstre) and Alternative parties have moved to reproach the Social Democrats, led by Mette Frederiksen, in an official parliamentary statement.

Positions taken by Frederiksen’s party on issues such as immigration, a proposed ban on burkas and a divisive plan to tackle social problems in underprivileged areas termed ‘ghettos’ by the government are amongst the concerns raised by traditional allies, Ritzau reports.

The Social Democrats have supported the line of Denmark’s centre-right coalition government and its right wing ally, the anti-immigration Danish People’s Party, on each of the aforementioned issues.

Denmark’s nine main political parties are normally classified into “blue” and “red” blocks according to their positions on the right or left.

The two blocks normally each present a statement on Denmark’s current political status and direction in the final parliamentary session before the summer break. The two statements are then approved by each of the parties within the blocks.

That will not be the case this year, however, with Alternative and the Social Liberals having decided not to vote for the statement put forth by Frederiksen’s opposition party, instead preparing their own – containing several explicit criticisms of Social Democrat policies.

In their text, Alternative and the Social Liberals admonish the government for its ban on face-covering garments, commonly referred to as a burka ban, a policy supported by the Social Democrats.

The ban takes “new steps away from the most fundamental principles of equal rights and equality,” the two parties write in their text, according to Ritzau's report.

READ ALSO: 'Because I have children and I don't want to get into problems, I will remove my veil': Danish Muslim

The so-called ‘ghetto plan’ is also criticised.

Special laws applying to “selected areas and not applying to the rest of Denmark, spot checks in kindergartens, and bans on living where you want to if you are on state income support” are interpretations of the plan with which issue is taken.

Mixed schools and youth education are a better way of tackling social problems in marginalised areas, according to the two parties’ text.

“[We cannot continue] with politicians that blame refugees and immigrants for our problems,” Social Liberal leader Morten Østergaard told Ritzau in a written statement.

“[Politicians who] swear by burka bans and double punishments [in underprivileged areas, ed.] instead of finding real solutions to the problems with integration,” he added.

Uffe Elbæk, leader of Alternative, said that the text put together by his environmentalist party and the centre-left Social Liberals seeks to strongly criticise the government for its positions on integration and personal freedoms.

“We think it is completely wrong to attempt to solve integration issues by preventing people from freely choosing where to live,” Elbæk told Ritzau.

READ ALSO: Danish Social Democrat leader faces criticism after 'using ethnicity' in Facebook debate

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