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

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.

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

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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‘This is how to leave office’: Former Danish PM sends Trump a message

Former Danish prime minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen had a few words of advice for US president Donald Trump on Friday.

'This is how to leave office': Former Danish PM sends Trump a message
Former Danish PM Lars Løkke Rasmussen. Photo: Martin Sylvest/Ritzau Scanpix

In a Twitter post, Rasmussen, who was Danish premier from 2009-2011 and 2015-2019, tagged Trump and said he had “just a little piece of advice”.

“This is the right way to leave office with honor once you have lost election,” Rasmussen continued, posting a photograph of himself walking away from the Danish parliament in Copenhagen with a rucksack over his shoulder.

“Thanks for honest conversations over the last 4 years. Let's keep in touch. Best regards. Lars Løkke Rasmussen, former Prime Minister of Denmark,” the former PM concluded.

Trump propagated disinformation about voter fraud prior to the US election and, since Tuesday’s vote, has falsely claimed victory and filed lawsuits in a number of states, before last night making a televised speech so crammed with falsehoods that many news stations cut their broadcasts and even some Republicans condemned it as undermining democracy.

A winner of the US general election is yet to be declared, but vote counting across battleground states shows Democrat Joe Biden steadily closing in on victory.

It’s not the first time Rasmussen, whose time as leader of the Danish government overlapped with Trump’s first two years as president, has challenged the belligerent US commander-in-chief, on social media and elsewhere.

In February 2018, he tweeted Trump to ask for reform on gun control in the wake of a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where 17 people were killed.

He subsequently admitted that his tweet had not set “a new standard for diplomacy”.

READ ALSO: OPINION: Why PM Lars Løkke Rasmussen's error-strewn English is fine by us (2018)

He also made public remarks criticising Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate accord and to censure the president over American tariffs on metal imported into the United States, and called his 2018 speech at the United Nations general assembly “discouraging”.

Rasmussen said prior to meeting Trump for the first time in 2017 that “first and foremost I want to have a good meeting” in “a good atmosphere that will allow me to keep in touch with the American president”.

If his latest social media message to the president is anything to go by, the former prime minister’s feelings haven’t changed in that regard.

READ ALSO: How are Americans in Denmark reacting to the US election?