Moderate party leader Lars Løkke Rasmussen left talks with caretaker PM Mette Frederiksen on Friday without giving away any clue as to their content.
Frederiksen is leading negotiations to form a new government after her Social Democratic party gained the largest vote share in Tuesday’s election, and the ‘red bloc’ group of left-wing parties took a slim one-seat majority.
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After leaving talks, Rasmussen passed press outside the PM’s residence Marienborg without taking questions.
Like Rasmussen, Frederiksen has stated she would prefer the new government to cross the political centre and include parties from both the left and right, or the ‘red’ and ‘blue’ blocs.
Rasmussen, who was prime minister as leader of the Liberal party in 2009-11 and 2015-19, has not stated his preferred PM in a centrist coalition.
During the election campaign, he said he wanted a judicial review of the Frederiksen government’s 2020 mink scandal as a precondition for backing a new government led by the Social Democratic leader.
An independent commission has already strongly rebuked Frederiksen and leading officials over the events.
Since Tuesday’s election, which saw a knife-edge majority go to left wing parties in a tense finale, Rasmussen has adjusted his position, saying he would not press for a judicial review of the mink scandal if there was not an overall majority for it in parliament.
Because the green Alternative party supports a judicial review along with the blue bloc, Rasmussen could still give it a majority if he places the Moderates in favour. This would mean he could demand the review in return for putting Frederiksen at the head of government.
As part of the process by which Frederiksen will attempt to land a deal to form government, she will meet with each of the other 11 parties elected into parliament during negotiations on Friday.
Because parties are invited in order of their vote share, the Liberal (Venstre) party was first in line, followed by the Moderates.
The caretaker PM will subsequently speak to representatives from the Socialist People’s Party (SF), Denmark Democrats, Liberal Alliance, Conservatives, Red Green Alliance, Social Liberals, Nye Borgerlige and Danish People’s Party, in that order.
She will also speak to each of the four North Atlantic members of parliament.
Like the Social Democrats, the Social Liberal and Moderate parties both favour a central coalition government. The left-wing SF, Red Green Alliance and Alternative parties each want a red bloc government.
Negotiations following the 2019 election took 20 days before an agreement was found through which SF, the Social Liberals and Red Green Alliance were able to agree to a minority Social Democratic government.
The agreement consisted of a so-called ‘principle paper’ or forståelsespapir which set out a the direction in which the Social Democrats would govern with the backing of the other three parties.
There is no guarantee a deal will be reached as quickly this time around given the much narrower red bloc majority, Frederiksen’s preference for a central coalition and the influential role which could be played out by Rasmussen.