‘Mette Frederiksen has changed’: Danish left-wing parties exit government talks

Talks to form a new Danish government appeared to enter a new phase on Wednesday with left-wing parties informed they are no longer part of negotiations.

'Mette Frederiksen has changed': Danish left-wing parties exit government talks
Acting Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen confirmed on Wednesday that the number of parties involved in talks to form a new government has been whittled down to 7. Photo: Ida Marie Odgaard/Ritzau Scanpix

The left-wing Red Green Alliance (Enhedslisten) party was present at the prime minister’s offices on Wednesday to discuss climate, environment and green transition policies.

But its lead political spokesperson Mai Villadsen subsequently said she had been informed by acting Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen that the Red Green Alliance was no longer part of the ongoing negotiations.

The Social Democrats intend to form a government with parties from the conservative ‘blue bloc’, Villadsen said.

“Mette Frederiksen has turned her back on the red-green majority,” she tweeted, referring to the one-seat majority gained by the ‘red bloc’ of left-wing and environmentalist parties in the November 1st election.

Frederiksen has “unambiguously chosen the right wing,” Villadsen added.

“A glaring mistake and a new right-leaning Social Democratic party we are now seeing,” she wrote.

The Red Green Alliance was one of three left-wing or centre-left parties which propped up Frederiksen’s minority Social Democratic government from its election in 2019 until the election earlier this month.

The other two parties, the Socialist People’s Party (SF) and the Social Liberals (Radikale Venstre) remain part of negotiations.

The environmentalist Alternative party, another member of the red bloc, has also been ejected from the talks, its leader Franciska Rosenkilde told broadcaster TV2.

The far-right Nye Borgerlige party was also reported to have left the talks on Wednesday but the libertarian Liberal Alliance and national conservative Danish People’s Party remain involved, as do fellow ‘blue bloc’ parties the Conservatives and Liberals.

The Liberal (Venstre) party, the largest in the ‘blue bloc’ conservative group, ruled out governing with Frederiksen prior to the election, but has since moved to a more open stance.

Suggestions the Liberals may be prepared to enter government with the Social Democrats gained momentum following a Liberal party national conference last weekend.

“Confidence [in Frederiksen] is at a very low point when she chooses the blue bloc over the red-green majority,” Villadsen told news wire Ritzau.

She also argued that Frederiksen’s politics have changed.

“This is a new Mette Frederiksen and a very different one to the one who emerged as a left winger in the Social Democrats, who wanted to invest in welfare, and who we have had a good working relationship with in many areas,” she said.

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How close is Denmark to getting a new government?

The Liberal party is “possibly” close to an agreement with the Social Democrats on forming a government, its leader Jakob Ellemann-Jensen has said, suggesting five weeks of talks since the election may be close to producing a result.

How close is Denmark to getting a new government?

The Liberals and the Social Democrats, led by incumbent prime minister Mette Frederiksen, usually lead opposing blocs in the Danish parliament bet look increasingly likely to break new political ground by entering government together.

Ellemann-Jensen said the two parties are “doing something right” as they move closer to forming a centre coalition.

“Let’s call a spade a spade. Of course we’re breaking election promises. I campaigned to become prime minister, and that didn’t happen,” Ellemann-Jensen said.

“I have to accept that. I can be fed up about it but I can also choose to say that I will now try to get the best out of the mandates the Liberals have,” he said to broadcaster TV2.

Prior to the election, Ellemann-Jensen said he “did not trust” Frederiksen and ruled out going into government with the Social Democrats. The comment was in relation to criticism of Frederiksen over the 2020 mink scandal, for which she and her government received official rebukes following an inquiry.

“But I can easily get confidence in friends who have made mistakes in the past. But that means both sides must want [to build trust]. And I have that wish, and my impression is that Mette Frederiksen does too,” he said.

Frederiksen stated before the election that she would try to form a government across the political centre and continued to pursue that aim after left wing or ‘red bloc’ parties took a narrow one-seat victory in the November 1st vote.

Ellemann-Jensen said it was a “fact” that Frederiksen will continue as prime minister.

But he has stressed the Liberals will make “ambitious” demands in return for supporting a Social Democrat-led government.

READ ALSO: Danish Liberal party demands ‘high ambitions’ from Social Democrats

That could mean Social Democratic concessions on tax cuts, including to the topskat top-end tax bracket.

Denmark on Tuesday equalled the record – set in 1975 – for the longest amount of time taken to form a government after an election.

Ellemann-Jensen said he was relaxed as to the prospects of a government being in place by Christmas.