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2022 DANISH ELECTION

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 
The Moderate party could put its votes behind a centrist coalition without being part of the government itself. Photo: Ida Marie Odgaard/Ritzau Scanpix

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

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POLITICS

Spy or jihadist? Denmark probes jailed man’s case

Danish lawmakers decided on Friday to investigate the case of a man who says he spied for Denmark in Syria, but wound up jailed by Spain over alleged IS group ties.

Spy or jihadist? Denmark probes jailed man's case

Ahmed Samsam, 34, a Danish national, claims he was working for Denmark’s secret service PET and military intelligence service FE in Syria in 2013 and 2014, spying on foreign jihadist fighters.

But he says they left him high and dry after he was arrested while on a trip to Spain in 2017, accused of himself supporting the Islamic State (IS) group.

Convicted and serving his sentence in Denmark since 2020, he has filed a lawsuit against the two intelligence services to force them to acknowledge his role with them. The case is due to be heard in August.

The new left-right government in power since December has rejected calls for an inquiry. But all of the other parties in parliament agreed on Friday to back a probe by the assembly’s Investigative Committee.

“A large minority — in other words all parties not in the government — want to press ahead with an inquiry into the Samsam affair”, the chairman of the committee, Ole Birk Olesen, told Danish news agency Ritzau.

A total of 60 MPs must be in favour of an inquiry for one to be opened, and the nine opposition parties hold a total of 85.

Samsam, who has a long criminal record, travelled to Syria in 2012 of his own accord to fight against the regime.

Danish authorities investigated him after his return but did not press any charges.

He was then sent to the war zone on several occasions with money and equipment provided by PET and later FE, according to investigations conducted by Danish media outlets DR and Berlingske.

They based their reports on anonymous witnesses and money transfers wired to Samsam.

In December, the two intelligence services said they never divulge the identity of informants “both for the sake of the sources themselves and for the services’ operations”.

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