What do we know so far about Danish government talks?

Talks between caretaker Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and representatives from Denmark's 11 other parliamentary parties got underway on Friday, as Frederiksen attempts to make a deal for her desired composition of government.

What do we know so far about Danish government talks?
Lars Løkke Rasmussen arrives at Marienborg in his campaign car. Photo: Ólafur Steinar Rye Gestsson/Ritzau Scanpix

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.


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.

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

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.

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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