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Could election result in first 'grand coalition' in Denmark since 1970s?

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Could election result in first 'grand coalition' in Denmark since 1970s?
Could traditional rivals Lars Løkke Rasmussen and Mette Frederiksen govern together? Photo: Bjarne Bergius Hermansen / Ritzau Scanpix
10:53 CEST+02:00
Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen, in comments in a newly-released book, sounds more positive than ever before about entering government with the opposition Social Democrats.

In the book Befrielesens øjeblik (The Moment of Liberation), which is released in Denmark on Thursday, Rasmussen calls government partnership between his Liberal (Venstre) party and the Social Democrats a “real option”.

Such a cross aisle-government could represent a rare Danish grand coalition, with the two largest parties of opposing political ideologies uniting in a coalition government.

Although the Danish People's Party was the largest right-wing party at the 2015 election, Rasmussen's Liberals are set to reclaim that mantle this time around. The Social Democrats are expected to again be the largest party in parliament.

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The two traditional rivals have only governed together once before, for a brief period under Social Democratic prime minister Anker Jørgensen in the late 1970s, with the exception of wartime unity governments.

On Thursday, a report by newspaper Politiken highlighted the fact that the two parties have voted the same way in over 90 percent of the 824 legislative votes conducted in parliament over the last four years.

Rasmussen tells author Kirsten Jacobsen in the new book that a so-called SV-coalition government was an option if conservative parties were in an overall minority after the coming election.

“There are naturally a few dilemmas in this, but at the same time I have no doubt that this is a real option. A lot of politics is already agreed across the centre as we are today,” he said.

READ ALSO: How realistic is Lars Løkke Rasmussen's general election welfare promise?

Furthermore, the current PM did not reject the possibility of allowing rival party figurehead Mette Frederiksen to lead a theoretical cross-aisle government.

“I think I have a lot to offer, but my presence should not get in the way of the best option for Denmark,” he says in the book.

Partnership between the two largest parties could reflect the overall political views of the Danish public, according to Rasmussen.

“12 parties are running for election! That is not because there is a broader spectrum in Danish politics than there always has been. There is not more disagreement.

“My point is that the Danish public is actually more in agreement than it has been in a long time,” he said.

The Social Democrats' stated election aim is to form a single-party minority government, and observers have suggested the party could cooperate with the right wing on immigration issues and with the left on other policies.

The latest polls from Ritzau Index show the Social Democrats increasing its share of mandates from 47 to 49 after the election, with the Liberals reduced from 34 to 32 of the total 179 seats in parliament. As such, a coalition between the two would still require support from other parties in order to pass legislation.

READ ALSO: Analysis: Danish general election will demonstrate shift to right, but could be end for Rasmussen

 
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