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Danish deputy PM yet to set date for return from sick leave

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Ritzau/The Local - [email protected]
Danish deputy PM yet to set date for return from sick leave
Danish deputy PM Jakob Ellemann-Jensen is yet to return to work after being signed off with stress in February. Photo: Ida Marie Odgaard/Ritzau Scanpix

Denmark’s Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Liberal Party Jakob Ellemann-Jensen, who is also the defence minister, says he expects to return to parliament following a spell of sick leave but has not set a date.

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Ellemann-Jensen, who is currently on sick leave due to stress, posted an update on his situation on Facebook on Thursday.

“It’s going well with my health. I’m in good hands and I look forward to having a daily routine at Christiansborg [parliament, ed.] and in the defence ministry,” he wrote.

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The Liberal leader has been signed off with stress since February 6th after being briefly admitted to hospital last week for nausea, just after returning from a visit to Ukraine.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: What are the rules for taking sick leave in Denmark?

In the Facebook statement, he did not give a set date for his return but said he must be “ready” to resume his work.

“Because I know that you can be neither minister not party leader on half-power,” he said.

Economy Minister Troels Lund Poulsen has filled in for Ellemann-Jensen as acting defence minister during his absence. The Liberals said on Thursday that deputy leader Stephanie Lose will now take on Poulsen’s duties as acting Economy Minister.

That is a sign that Ellemann-Jensen will be away for an extended period, according to political commentator Hans Engell.

“This is serious because it is not expected that Ellemann will come back quickly. This will take a long time. But there’s a need for the Liberals to have a set structure in their government roles and that Troels Lund can concentrate on defence,” Engell said.

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.

The Liberal leader is the latest in a number of Danish politicians who have been forced to take time off due to stress in recent times.

They include Liberal Alliance leader Alex Vanopslagh as well as Jacob Mark (Socialist People’s Party) and Ida Auken (Social Democrats).

“We have an obligation to listen to what they say because no one should get sick from going to work,” the speaker of parliament, Søren Gade, said in earlier comments to news wire Ritzau.

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