Denmark’s Social Liberal party calls for ‘national compromise’ government

The centre-left Social Liberal (Radikale Venstre) party clearly stated on Tuesday its desired partners in a potential centrist coalition government.

Denmark’s Social Liberal party calls for 'national compromise' government
Social Liberal MPs (L-R) Kristian Friis Bach, Martin Lidegaard and Samira Nawa arriving at ongoing talks to form a Danish government. Photo: Nikolai Linares/Ritzau Scanpix

While most parties have kept a tactical discretion on exactly how they would prefer a potential coalition to look, the Social Liberals have laid their cards on the table.

The socially progressive and economically liberal party changed its leader last week after a poor election result, but could nevertheless play a key role in talks to form the government, given its position near the political centre.

The parties best suited to form government in the view of the Social Liberals are those who agreed on the “national compromise” political agreement from March this year.

The national compromise was agreed between four parties and the government to secure extra defence spending following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It also paved the way for the June 1st national referendum in which Danes voted to scrap the country’s EU defence opt-out.

The parties who signed the agreement were the governing Social Democrats along with the Social Liberals and fellow ‘red bloc’ party Socialist People’s Party (SF), as well as the ‘blue bloc’ Liberal (Venstre) and Conservative parties.

“I think it’s both possible and realistic. But let’s be honest and say that this is new territory for all of us,” new Social Liberal leader Martin Lidegaard said.

Lidegaard confirmed he wanted all of these parties to be government parties, as opposed to a government composed of fewer parties but with the parliamentary backing of the others.

Notably, the list of parties does not include the Moderates, a newly-formed centrist party led by former PM Lars Løkke Rasmussen which ran for election on the basis of forming a central coalition.

The Social Liberal opposition to the (caretaker) government’s plan to open an asylum facility in Rwanda has been noted as a major stumbling block in talks.

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

Prior to the election the Social Liberals refused to back any government that supported, or continued to look into the viability of the plan.

Lidegaard appeared to soften that stance, however, in comments reported by news wire Ritzau.

“We are going into things with an open mind. Anything is possible,” he said.

The Social Liberals earlier said they could accept a form of the plan if it was developed as a joint European project.

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Danish Liberal party demands ‘high ambitions’ from Social Democrats

Liberal (Venstre) party leader Jakob Ellemann-Jensen has said ambitions “above normal” should be aimed for in talks to form a government across the political centre.

Danish Liberal party demands ‘high ambitions’ from Social Democrats

On December 6th, ongoing negotiations to form a government will tie the all-time record for Denmark’s longest ever with the 35-day negotiation of 1975.

But the Liberal party is still holding out for more concessions from Frederiksen and the Social Democrats, its leader Jakob Ellemann-Jensen said after another major party on the right, the Conservatives, quit the talks over the weekend.

“The Liberals will continue negotiations with the Social Democrats in the coming days,” Ellemann-Jensen wrote on Twitter.

“If the Liberals are to commit to an agreement with the Social Democrats – whether in opposition or in government – the content of that agreement should be above the usual level of political ambition,” he said.

Ellemann-Jensen has cited to changes to the top tax bracket as a party priority, though that’s been a non-starter for the Social Democrats. 

The Liberals also hope to lower inheritance tax as well as income taxes for Denmark’s most modest earners, newswire Ritzau reports.

The withdrawal of the Conservatives means the Liberals are the only party on the right who could realistically enter government with the Social Democrats.

Six of the 12 parties elected to parliament at the election now remain in government talks with the Social Democrats.

These are the Liberals, Liberal Alliance and Danish People’s Party from the ‘blue bloc’ and the Social Liberal (Radikale Venstre) and Socialist People’s Party (SF), from the red bloc side. The centrist Moderates are the final party.

READ MORE: ‘Topskat’: What is Denmark’s high income tax bracket?