Tuesday, July 23, 2024

The social democrat Frederiksen will govern Denmark with liberals and moderates

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With her victory in the early elections on November 1, the Social Democrat Mette Frederiksen could have chosen to continue governing Denmark in alliance with the other left-wing parties as she had done since she came to power in 2019.

However, the Danish prime minister He preferred to fulfill his campaign promise and seek a transversal agreement with other centrist forces to face the challenges facing the Nordic country in the midst of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

After a month and a half of intense negotiations with the rest of the parties represented in the “Folketing” (Parliament), Frederiksen was able to communicate to Queen Margrethe on Tuesday night a historic coalition agreement with his main political rivals, the Liberals, and the Moderate Party created by former Liberal Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen . With the exception of the governments of national concentration during the Second World War and a brief experience between 1978 and 1979, social democrats and liberals have never shared power.

“These are the three parties that have agreed to come together and take responsibility,” the prime minister said. “Almost six weeks ago I was given the task of investigating whether it would be possible to form a comprehensive government in Denmark. And tonight I informed her majesty the queen that she did (she would form it),” she announced.

Social Democrats -the first force in Parliament with 50 of the 179 deputies- , liberals with 23 and moderates with 16 add up to 89 seats , one less than the absolute majority. However, the Social Liberal Party, which remained in the negotiations until the last moment, has guaranteed its support for the new tripartite that breaks the traditional division between the “red block” (left) and the “blue block” (right). With everything, Frerirksen is open to seeking support from other forces: “We are going to actively seek if we can make majorities larger than the one we have.”The new government would have “many commitments, but above all, many ambitions,” said the social democrat leader on Wednesday together with the liberal Jakob Ellemann-Jensen and the moderate Rasmussen in an appearance before the press to discuss the government agreement, whose composition will be public today.

The priorities of the new Danish government will be to increase defense spending to 2% of GDP in 2030 , three years ahead of schedule. To complete the strong investment necessary to reinforce the national defense, one of the annual holidays, the Day of Prayer, which is celebrated four weeks after Easter, will be cancelled. The tripartite also promises an ambitious environmental agenda to make Denmark carbon neutral by 2045, five years ahead of schedule.

To promote employment, the Government plans a tax reduction of 5,000 million Danish crowns (about 670 million euros). The agreed tax reform provides for an increase in income tax for the middle class, a reduction for new members and a significant surcharge for annual income of more than 2.5 million Danish crowns (335,000 euros). Likewise, 400 million will be invested of euros to improve the salary of public employees.

In terms of immigration, the three parties have promised to make family reunification more flexible after twenty years of restrictive immigration policies imposed by both liberals and social democrats to deal with the ultra-right, today weak and fragmented into three parties that accounted for 14.4% . in the recent elections.

“What characterizes this Government? Greater cooperation, that’s what we want to have together in political terms. It will also be a working community”, explained Frederiksen before clarifying that “the fact that different parties join the Government does not mean that they agree on everything”.

However, for whom it was more difficult to sell the coalition agreement to public opinion was for the liberal Ellemann-Jensen, who did not tire of insisting during the electoral campaign that he would never agree with the Social Democrats. The electoral debacle of November 1 convinced the Liberals that their only way to return to power was as a partner with their historic rivals. “Should I let my pride get in the way … of doing what’s right for Denmark?” the Liberal leader responded in his defense.

After the Danish elections, Sweden appears as the only Nordic country governed by the right and supported by the extreme right. In Finland, Norway and Denmark , the Social Democrats maintain their hegemony at the head of various coalitions. The Finnish prime minister, Sanna Marin , will be the next to submit to the polls with the elections scheduled to open next year.

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