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Ellemann-Jensen is likely new leader for Denmark’s Liberals after confirming candidacy

Jakob Ellemann-Jensen on Tuesday formally announced his intention to stand for the leadership of Denmark’s Liberal (Venstre) party.

Ellemann-Jensen is likely new leader for Denmark's Liberals after confirming candidacy
Jakob Ellemann-Jensen. Photo: Philip Davali/Ritzau Scanpix

In an interview with newspaper Jyllands-Posten and via statements published on social media, Ellemann-Jensen confirmed his intention to succeed two-time prime minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen at the head of the party.

The minister for the environment and food in Rasmussen’s last government, Ellemann-Jensen is the son of Uffe Ellemann-Jensen, who led the Liberal party in the 1980s and 1990s.

“Many have encouraged me to stand at the forefront (for the party). So I plan to do that,” the younger Ellemann-Jensen told Jyllands-Posten.

“I will stand at our extraordinary national congress and hope to be given the backing to become the new leader of the Liberals,” he said.

Although the party, which has governed Denmark for 14 of the last 18 years, was mired with infighting and manoeuvring in the weeks leading up to Rasmussen’s resignation, Ellemann-Jensen had already emerged as the expected new leader before making his candidacy official, with leading Liberal figures announcing their support.

He has already said that any talk of a future cross-aisle partnership with traditional rivals the Social Democrats, as advocated by Rasmussen prior to the June general election, will be shelved under his potential leadership.

“The Liberals belong in the conservative family,” he told Jyllands-Posten.

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POLITICS

Danish armed forces distance themselves from Great Prayer Day plan 

Unions for the Danish armed forces say they are concerned about the connection between the military and plans to abolish Great Prayer Day.

Danish armed forces distance themselves from Great Prayer Day plan 

The Danish military wants the government to stop using defence as justification to abolish Great Prayer Day, a public holiday set to be axed through a parliamentary bill.

Three unions, representing a total of more than 18,000 members in the armed forces, say association with the loss of a public holiday could undermine general support for the armed forces. 

The government bill to abolish Great Prayer Day has met with criticism from trade unions, the church and opposition parties.

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Niels Tønning, chairman of the union Hovedorganisationen af Officerer i Danmark (“First Organization of Officers in Denmark”) told newspaper BT that extra funding shouldn’t come at the expense of the freedom of Danish wage earners.

That is despite the armed forces needing the money, he noted.

Another union leader, Jesper Korsgaard Hansen of Centralforeningen for Stampersonel (Central Association for Core Personnel) told BT he was angry over the link between defence and Great Prayer Day.

“I’m angry in the old-fashioned sense about the military being brought up in the same breath to say that money from the scrapped public holiday will go to increased expenses for defence,” Hansen told BT.

Tom Block chairperson of Hærens Konstabel- og Korporalforening (Association of Army Constables and Corporals) said that the government had made the military a “scapegoat” for its plan to scrap Great prayer Day.

In a written comment to BT, defence minister Jakob Ellemann-Jensen recognised the bill to scrap Great Prayer Day was not popular.

He said he believed that Danes nevertheless understood that bolstering the military comes with a price.

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