Frederiksen begins negotiations for Denmark’s new government

Negotiations to form a new government were scheduled to begin at Prime Minister’s residence Marienborg on Friday, led by Mette Frederiksen.

Frederiksen begins negotiations for Denmark’s new government
Queen Margrethe's residence Amalienborg on Wednesday. Photo: Philip Davali/Ritzau Scanpix

Frederiksen told broadcaster TV2 she would lead negotiations beginning Friday after her government stepped down on Wednesday, paving the way for talks.

The Social Democrat leader met with Queen Margrethe to formally tender the current government’s resignation and recommend a dronningerunde or “Queen’s round.” 

According to constitutional rules, each party leader must pay a visit to the queen at Amalienborg to ceremonially tell the Queen their pick for the “Queen’s investigator” to attempt to form a new government.

A majority of parties – the Social Democrats, Moderates, Socialist People’s Party (SF), Red Green Alliance, Social Liberals and Alternative – each nominated Frederiksen to lead the talks.

She told TV2 she would seek to form a government across the centre, in line with a pre-election pledge.

“What we will being doing, completely practically, is to invite all parliamentary parties and naturally also the North Atlantic mandates to Marienborg on Friday. The parties will be invited in order according to size,” she said.

“That means it will be an extra long working day,” she said.

READ ALSO: How two Greenland seats ensured last-minute Danish red bloc majority

Although ‘red bloc’ parties on the left took a one-seat majority of 90 seats at the election, Frederiksen said she would still seek to form a cross-centre government, which would signal a move away from the established bloc system.

Asked whether there were signs of progress to this end, she said “we must assess this as we go”.

“But in many ways, the voice of the election is clear. We need an acute plan for the Danish health system so we can reduce waiting times. We need a long-term plan for welfare, and must continue to work on the green transition,” she said.

“Voters have sent a clear signal that we should work together,” she told TV2.

Like the Social Democrats, the Social Liberal and Moderate parties both favour a central coalition government. The Moderates, led by former PM Lars Løkke Rasmussen, have not stated a preferred prime minister, however.

The left-wing SF, Red Green Alliance and Alternative parties each want a red bloc government.

A total of 12 parties were elected into parliament in Tuesday’s election. Each sent a representative to Queen Margrethe to nominate a “Queen’s investigator” (kongelig undesøger), to lead the talks to form a new government.

The opposing blue bloc Liberal (Venstre), Liberal Alliance, Nye Borgerlige and Danish People’s parties all nominated Liberal leader Jakob Ellemann-Jensen as the Queen’s investigator.

Notably, the Conservative party leader Søren Pape Poulsen also nominated Ellemann-Jensen, effectively ending his failed run at the PM job.

Ellemann-Jensen thereby gained 58 mandates, well short of Frederiksen’s total.

The Denmark Democrats nominated their own leader, Inger Støjberg.

READ ALSO: Five things to know about the Danish election result

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Moderate party downplays importance of joining new Danish government 

After another round of negotiations with acting Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, Moderate leader Lars Løkke Rasmussen says it’s beside the point if his party joins Frederiksen’s vision of a ‘broad, central’ government.

Moderate party downplays importance of joining new Danish government 

Rasmussen, who was Prime Minister before Frederiksen when leader of the Liberal (Venstre) party, led the newly-formed Moderates into parliament in their first election on a platform of installing a centrist government.

The Moderates have a relatively strong hand in the negotiations with their 16 seats from 9.3 percent of the vote share in the election, which took place one month ago.

“For us, it’s not a separate ambition to be part of such a government,” Rasmussen said outside of the prime minister’s official residence at Marienborg on Wednesday.

“Whether we are in or not is less important. But we want to put ourselves in a position where we can influence the content. That’s what matters,” he said. 

“It strikes me that Mette Frederiksen and I go a long way towards sharing the analysis of what’s good for Denmark,” he added.

READ ALSO: What does Denmark’s Liberal party want from government negotiations?

Rasmussen has previously backed a potential government involving the Social Democrats and Liberals along with the Moderates, calling it an “excellent starting point”.

But he said on Wednesday that his party could lend support to a central coalition without being part of the government itself.

The Moderates could be influential “by forming the parliamentary basis for a government which consists of parties from both sides of the infamous political centre,” he said.

Although the centrist party is heavily involved in talks led by Frederiksen, it does not have decisive seats which could give either the left or right wings an overall majority. The left wing ‘red bloc’ took a single-seat victory in the November 1st election, meaning a left-wing government could be formed without the support of the Moderates.

But Frederiksen has eschewed the option of a government reliant on the support of the parties furthest to the left, the Red Green Alliance and Alternative, maintaining her pre-election pledge to seek a coalition across the centre.

There is no majority which could put a ‘blue bloc’ or conservative government in place.

READ ALSO: Five things to know about the Danish election result