Danish government negotiations: Frederiksen says next stage is to ’put things in writing’

Initial talks between political parties following last week’s election are set to move forward to a more advanced stage, caretaker prime minister Mette Frederiksen said on Monday.

Danish government negotiations: Frederiksen says next stage is to ’put things in writing’
Danish acting PM Mette Frederiksen will continue talks aimed at forming a new government. Photo: Emil Helms/Ritzau Scanpix

Talks between Frederiksen’s Social Democrats and 10 of the 11 other parties elected to parliament last week continue on Monday at the PM’s official residence Marienborg.

“We’re now getting underway. We had a very good day on Friday and I was actually surprised at how many parties are still at the table and have plans to constructive take part in ongoing discussions,” Frederiksen said.

“Negotiations will now begin and after today and tomorrow we will begin to write things down. That also means that the civil service is now involved. Things are now being put in writing,” she said.

Frederiksen promised during the election campaign to attempt to form a coalition government across the political centre. Two other parties, the Social Liberals and Moderates, have similar aims.

The acting PM was nominated to lead talks to form a government after her party gained the largest vote share and the ‘red bloc’ of left wing parties took a slim majority in the election.

READ ALSO: Could a centrist government change Danish asylum plan?

The theme of Monday’s talks will be healthcare, with common platforms to be committed to writing, said Frederiksen.

Party representatives will attend the latest round of talks in turn.

“We are zooming in on health politics. That means we will open the discussion that is needed in relation to the winter that is about to start and the current and acute challenges,” she said.

“We will also open a longer-term discussion of Danish health politics,” she said.

Only one party – the Denmark Democrats, a national conservative party led by Inger Støjberg – has so far withdrawn from the negotiations altogether.

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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