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Social Democrats and centre-right agree historic coalition government in Denmark

It took 42 days after the Social Democratic Party’s victory in the Danish general election to announce a new government. After the longest negotiations in the Nordic country’s recent history, Socialist Acting Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen announced the formation of a coalition executive with the Liberal Party and the Moderate Party this Tuesday night. “Six weeks ago I was commissioned to investigate whether a comprehensive government would be possible in Denmark, and tonight I informed Her Majesty the Queen that it was,” Frederiksen said on a cold night outside the gates of Amalienborg Palace.

This broad front agreement between center-left and center-right is a very unusual event in Danish politics and has only happened once in 1977. With this government coalition, the three parties that got the best result in the last election, they are occupied. There are 89 seats in the parliament and with the addition of 3 North Atlantic seats, they will get a parliamentary majority.

Without repeating the previous progressive government

The November 1 elections were decided after a close recount of the votes with the left bloc parties having a parliamentary majority. But despite the progressive victory, the Social Democrats gave no indication either during the campaign or after the election that they wanted to repeat the government formula of the previous legislature, where they ruled in a minority with the parliamentary support of other left-wing forces.

Instead, the Socialists wanted a broad consensus government to push through the reformist agenda of the welfare state and face the uncertainty of rising inflation, the energy crisis and the war in Ukraine.

For Socialist leader Mette Frederiksen, the scenario was not easy and required great political skills to convince the Liberal Party, his biggest opponent in the conservative bloc, and the moderate party led by former Prime Minister Lars Loke Rasmussen.

New government “too blue”

Marienborg’s official residence has been the site of talks between the parties in recent weeks. At the moment, the details of the government agreement or the composition of the ministries have not been announced, they will be announced today and Thursday.

After weeks of intense negotiations, parts of the board have begun to navigate this tangled political landscape over the past week. Of the seven parties that started sitting at the negotiating table, the Popular Socialist Party (center-left) decided to leave the agreement, given that the new government “He turned very blue” (conservative)According to the party leader, Pia Olsen. For their part, the radical liberals (considered to be forming a progressive bloc) also ruled out being part of the new government late Tuesday, missing the opportunity to present a progressive counterbalance to the deal.

At the other ideological extreme, the leader of the Conservative Party, Søren Pape Poulsen A week ago, he announced his withdrawal from the negotiations asserts the little credibility that his party’s participation in a coalition government led by the Social Democrats would have.

In this scenario, analysts note that the Liberal Party and the Moderate Party would try to obtain maximum political benefits from the Social Democrats in order to justify their participation in the government. “It is also important to understand that the Social Democrats had no other way to form a coalition to their left, as they would depend on formations such as the Alternative Party, which do not guarantee the discipline of parliamentary voting,” says Michael Bagessen Klitgaard. Professor of Political Science at Aalborg University.

A matter of trust

There were critical issues on the negotiating table between the parties, such as the reform of the health care system, carbon tax in agriculture or tax policy. However, “for political enemies to work together, you have to work on trust,” he commented. Political analyst for Public Channel DR, Christine Cordsen. And it is clear that there were several crises in the negotiations that had to be overcome.

The first of these was decided last week, when the leader of the Liberal Party, Jakob Ellemann-Jensen, announced that his party would withdraw the petition to launch an investigation Mette v. Frederiksen in the case of the slaughter of millions of mink during the COVID-19 pandemic. These statements were supported by the leader of moderation, Lars Loke Rasmussen.

The second crisis of confidence affects Rasmussen himself, who a year ago was a prominent member of the Liberal Party. Rasmussen tore up the Liberal Party card after falling out with Ellemann-Jensen’s leadership and headed the Moderate Party, a splinter group of liberals that was formed in the months before the election. As he would say in the movie godfatherKeep your friends close, but your enemies closer,” says analyst Michael Bagesen Klitgaard.

reformist agenda

Everything seems to indicate that the new government “instead of being a coalition between the left and the right, it will have a rather dark blue tone,” predicts Karina Kosiara-Pedersen, a political scientist at the University of Copenhagen. For the Liberals, cutting taxes, including those who pay the lowest incomes, and reducing the number of people who pay the highest taxes are high on their political agenda. as promoting access to private education and health services for citizens. These are measures that conflict with the interests of the Social Democrats.

Conversely, both social democrats and liberals agree to cut some welfare state services, such as aid for university students and employment offices, or linking social assistance for immigrants to people with a 37-hour-a-week work contract.

According to Kosiara-Pedersen, reforms in climate policy are also expected. The Social Democrats talk about a controversial tax on CO2 emissions applied to the agricultural sector, a measure strongly rejected by the Liberals: “The environmental reforms will not be as ambitious as a progressive government, but I don’t think they can in the end. should be avoided”, says the political scientist.

Source: El Diario





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