Is there any progress on talks to form Danish government?

Acting Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said on Thursday that it will take “as long as it takes” to find an agreement between parties to form a new government.

Is there any progress on talks to form Danish government?
Mette Frederiksen talks to press at the Danish parliament, Christiansborg, ahead of the latest round of talks aimed at forming a new government. Photo: Emil Helms/Ritzau Scanpix

Frederiksen, whose government is performing a caretaker role after last week’s election, is leading negotiations to form a new government.

Her Social Democratic party won a 27 percent share of the vote and remains the largest party in the Danish parliament.

The ‘red bloc’ of left-wing parties won a slender majority of a single seat at the election.

Frederiksen has pledged to attempt to form a centrist coalition government including parties from both the right and left wings.

“I’ve been nominated [to lead negotiations] and will do all I can to form a government,” she said on Thursday.

READ ALSO: Danish election: What happens next after narrow win for left bloc?

“But it will take as long as it takes. These are parties that don’t usually sit at the same table when we are talking about forming governments. It’s not something you can just do from one day to the next,” she said.

The environmentalist Alternative party was first to engage in talks with Frederiksen and other Social Democratic representatives on Thursday.

Alternative favours a “red-green” government which would comprise solely of ‘red bloc’ or left-wing parties, making use of the parliamentary majority secured in the election and more in keeping with the established ‘bloc’ system of alliances between parties.

Talks are now taking place at government offices in Copenhagen after initially being held at Marienborg, the PM’s official residence.

While earlier rounds of talks focused on health policy, focus has now switched to the economy including how ongoing inflation should be responded to.

Several parties have called for parliament to agree on a new aid package for households affected by high prices as soon as possible, concurrent to the negotiations over the government which could become protracted.

The Red Green Alliance, Socialist People’s Party (SF), Danish People’s Party and Denmark Democrats have all called for talks over a winter package, broadcaster TV2 reports.

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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?