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Far-right Danish party to get new leader next month

Member of Parliament Lars Boje Mathiesen looks set to become leader of the far-right Nye Borgerlige (New Right) party in an uncontested leadership contest.

Far-right Danish party to get new leader next month
Lars Boje Mathiesen is set to become the new leader of the Nye Borgerlige party. Photo: Ida Marie Odgaard/Ritzau Scanpix

The deadline to register as a candidate in the party’s leadership contest expired on Tuesday prior to an extraordinary general meeting on February 7th.

The contest was triggered after party co-founder Pernille Vermund announced earlier in January her intention to step down as leader and eventually quit politics.

Mathiesen was the only member of the party to enter the leadership contest, Nye Borgerlige confirmed on Wednesday.

He is expected to officially replace Vermund as party leader at an extraordinary general meeting in the town of Fredericia next month.

A new deputy leader of the party must be elected at the same event after incumbent Peter Seier Christensen, like Vermund, decided to step down.

Christensen and Vermund co-founded the party, which runs on a libertarian and anti-immigration platform, in 2015.

In contrast to the leadership, there will be a contest to decide who will be the party’s new deputy leader.

Six candidates are running to replace Christensen. The only member of parliament to have put their name forward, Kim Edberg Andersen, has already withdrawn from the contest. Four of the remaining candidates are municipal councillors.

The leadership change reflects ongoing turbulence in the far-right party, which has seen its number of MPs drop from six to four since the general election in November after two of its lawmakers quit the party.

Mikkel Bjørn, the leader of parliament’s citizenship committee, this week defected from Nye Borgerlige to the national conservative Danish People’s Party, citing differences with Mathiesen.

READ ALSO: Leader of far-right Danish party to step down and quit politics

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POLITICS

Denmark’s defence minister takes sick leave following illness

Denmark’s Defence Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Jakob Ellemann-Jensen is to take sick leave for an undetermined period, two months after leading the Liberal (Venstre) party into coalition government.

Denmark’s defence minister takes sick leave following illness

The 49-year-old was admitted briefly to hospital last week for “nausea”, just after returning from Ukraine.

“I was eager to go back to work immediately. But now that it’s been a few days I have to realise I’m not ready for this,” he said on Facebook.  “I have been unusually busy for a long time. Now my body is sending me a signal that it’s time to take a break, if not it’s going to end badly,” he said.

“The bottom line is that, on the advice of my doctor, I need to unplug for a while and take leave. And then I will return when I’m ready.”

Economy Minister Troels Lund Poulsen will fill in for Ellemann-Jensen during his absence, the government said.

His absence comes as Danes protest against government plans to abolish a public holiday, Great Prayer Day. The government says the plan will help fund the defence budget.

Ellemann-Jensen has led the Liberal party since late 2019. The party is traditionally the second largest in the Danish parliament and senior member of the ‘blue bloc’ alliance of conservative parties.

It suffered a poor result in the 2022 election with its 13 percent share of the vote representing 10 points less than its vote share in 2019. Ellemann-Jensen subsequently took the party into coalition government with two other parties including erstwhile rivals the Social Democrats.

READ ALSO: Denmark’s Social Democrats in worst opinion poll since 2015

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