Government with Social Democrats is favoured choice of rival ex-PM Rasmussen

The Local Denmark
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Government with Social Democrats is favoured choice of rival ex-PM Rasmussen
A Lars Løkke Rasmussen election poster with the slogan "change from the centre". Photo: Bo Amstrup/Ritzau Scanpix

The governing Social Democrats should form a coalition across the centre according to former Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen, an erstwhile rival.


Rasmussen, leader of the Moderate party, told media Zetland that the Social Democrats should be part of a new government after the November 1st election in an interview with media Zetland.

The ex-PM’s comments are important because they appear to increase the possibility of such a coalition becoming reality, an otherwise unlikely eventuality under Denmark’s established ‘bloc politics’ system.


READ ALSO: ‘Bloc politics’: A guide to understanding parliamentary elections in Denmark

The Social Democrats, led by incumbent PM Mette Frederiksen, would normally be a rival party to Rasmussen, who led the centre-right Liberal (Venstre) party when he was prime minister from 2009-11 and 2015-19.

He left the Liberals and formed the Moderates in 2020, and has since advocated more cross-bloc collaboration in Danish politics.

Because he has not committed his new party to either of the traditional competing factions – the ‘red’ or ‘blue’ blocs – he has kept his options open and could decide to work with either side to form a government.

Analysts have however speculated that he is most likely to use that position as trade-off for more influence in a ‘blue bloc’ government agreement, should conservative parties gain a majority at the election.

READ ALSO: Denmark’s former PM Rasmussen on course for election surprise in poll

His comments on working with the Social Democrats appear to be the strongest suggestion so far that he could decide to work with his erstwhile rivals.

“I have reached the conclusion that we need to have the Social Democrats involved [in government]. But the Social Democrats attached to the left wing cannot deliver what is needed,” he said to Zetland.

“And there we need to eke out a stable, steady political partnership across the famous centre,” he said.

Previously, Rasmussen has said he would work with a smaller centre-left party, the Social Liberals, in a centre coalition, but his overtures to the Social Democrats appear to firm up his position.

Recent polls put Rasmussen’s party on around 9 percent of the vote share, a strong increase on earlier polls that would give them a potentially decisive 17 seats in parliament.

Frederiksen said at the beginning of the election campaign that her priority was to form a centre coalition, rather than to only work with red bloc parties as the Social Democrats would usually be expected to do.

She named two parties on the left, the Social Liberals and Socialist People’s Party, and two on the right – the Conservatives and Liberals – as potential government partners. She did not mention the Moderates or Rasmussen.

The Conservatives and Liberals have both stated they do not wish to go into government with Frederiksen.

On Friday, Frederiksen called her predecessor’s view that the Social Democrats should be in government “positive”.

“I naturally think it’s positive. I actually think I would take this opportunity to encourage [Liberal and Conservative leaders] Jakob Ellemann-Jensen and Søren Pape Poulsen to reassess their very clear rejection of a broad partnership,” she said to journalists in Brussels, where she is currently attending an EU summit.


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