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'Embarrassing': Denmark’s Liberal Alliance party slammed by own youth leader

Michael Barrett
Michael Barrett - [email protected]
'Embarrassing': Denmark’s Liberal Alliance party slammed by own youth leader
Mads Strange (R) of the Liberal Alliance party is at the centre of criticism from the party's youth wing over what it called "embarrassing" comments about women. Photo: Emil Nicolai Helms/Ritzau Scanpix

The libertartian party Liberal Alliance has faced criticism from its own youth party leader over what she described as ‘embarrassing’ comments about women by a senior candidate.

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The Liberal Alliance (LA) youth party has criticised the senior leadership for having enabled “embarrassing” remarks about women, broadcaster DR reports.

“There has been some very unfortunate rhetoric which has scared women off,” LA youth leader Mette Marie Kjær Knudsen told DR.

She also said the senior party had "completely erred in its communication".

The criticism revolves around comments by Mads Strange, the party’s second candidate to the EU Palriament in the recent EU elections. Strange was not elected, with LA’s single seat going to its lead candidate Henrik Dahl.

In April, Strange discussed the introduction of military service for women – which LA opposes – in a politics programme on radio station 24Syv.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Is national service compulsory in Denmark?

“If we want to maintain a certain amount of population growth, the fact is that if a woman gets pregnant, it’s nine months before she can get pregnant again,” Strange said.

“When a man has made a woman pregnant, he can make a woman pregnant again shortly afterwards,” he continued.

Knudsen said she had not appreciated those comments. "As a female voter, you think: 'Ugh, that's really not great'," she told DR.

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Strange also posted a text on X, formerly Twitter during the EU election campaign in which he argued that women had inferior ability to men at sports, including ones which “only need mental ability”.

“There is not a single woman among the world’s top 100 chess players”, he wrote.

Knudsen said that the leader of LA, Alex Vanopslagh, had contributed to the rhetoric by not contradicting Strange over his comments.

DR asked Vanopslagh for his comments on the matter. The broadcaster was referred to LA’s political spokesperson Sólbjørg Jakobsen, who is on record as saying that LA needs to consider whether its own communication has created an incorrect impression of the party¨s values and politics.

Vanopslagh has led LA since 2019, presiding over a period in which the party has generally prospered, increasing its vote share and seats in the 2022 election. Vanopslagh has been praised for his communication skills and ability to connect with younger voters.

But LA fared relatively poorly in the EU election, coming well short of the Liberal (Venstre) party as Denmark’s second-biggest conservative party, despite regularly beating the Liberals in national opinion polls.

Two-thirds of the party's voters are men, DR writes based on a University of Copenhagen analysis.

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