Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen is clinging to her job after losing her majority in an election after a scandal erupted over the country’s decision to purge the population.
Fredriksson’s Social Democrats are on track to remain the country’s biggest party after Tuesday’s election, according to an exit poll, but her political survival depends on a new centrist group.
According to an initial poll by public broadcaster DR, the Social Democrats won 23.1 percent of the vote and would win 42 of the 179 seats in parliament. This gave them 13.5 percent of the vote, or 24 seats, to the Liberal Party’s Jakob Ellemann-Jensen.
But for Frederiksen, the result was bittersweet. If confirmed by official statistics. A win of 42 seats would be her party’s worst election result in more than 100 years.
In the political landscape, 14 left-wing Red parties and the rival right-wing “Blue bloc”, which won 85 seats, fell short of the 90 seats needed for a majority at 73 seats. 179-seat parliament. The remaining seats go to unbalanced parties.
The election was sparked by a scandal over government-mandated landmines killed during the coronavirus pandemic. After a shapeless, exciting and chaotic campaign. At times, it seems to foreshadow the twists and turns of the final season of the popular TV political drama “Borgen.”
If confirmed, exit poll results show Fredriksson will need the support of former prime minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen and his newly formed centrist party, with 9.3 percent of the vote or 17 seats.
Rasmussen has appointed the former prime minister as a monarch during the upcoming talks and said he will not back down from any faction.
He used his position during the campaign to call for a broader coalition of moderate parties from the red and blue blocs, a move that would upset the postwar political system. Some have even suggested that he could use his post-election influence to take the top job or even the prime ministership.
But Rasmussen, who previously served as prime minister for Denmark’s Liberal Party from 2009 to 2011 and again from 2015 to 2019, said he was aiming for a third term. “It’s not on my mind,” he said after the vote Tuesday morning.
Magnus Heunicke, the current health minister and a member of the Social Democrats, told reporters that “voters are likely to punish his party for some of the decisions he has to make at a time when he really needs to show leadership.”
“I think we’ve done that,” he said. You can be proud. But it is also possible that some people may not agree with the decisions that we have made and that we have failed,” he added.
Heunicke reiterated the party’s desire to form a broad, centralized government: “This result supports our desire for broad cooperation. Now let’s sit together and see if we can form a central government.”
From 2015 to 2019, the Danish People’s Party, the country’s second-largest party, lost significant ground in the face of far-right politics, according to exit polls. It is projected to win 2.5 percent of the vote, or just 4 seats — just above the parliamentary threshold of 2 percent.
Domestic issues such as tax cuts and the need to hire more nurses have dominated the campaign, while inflation and energy prices have risen due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
A major theme falls on the immigration agenda; That’s partly because the Social Democrats have vowed to remain tough on immigration, leaving right-wing parties unstuck.
Frederiksen’s party remains the largest in parliament, but its popularity has fallen from 48 to 42 seats in recent months after a series of scandals rocked her popularity. They include a 2020 order to cull all of the country’s farmed mink for fear of spreading a strain of the coronavirus, a policy that has devastated Europe’s biggest fur exporter.
A commission appointed by parliament said in June that the government had made “totally misleading” statements when it ordered the closure of the sector and that the government was unjustified for the cull. The Left Party, which had backed Frederiksen’s minority government, withdrew its support in the wake of the report, forcing Frederiksen to call early elections on Tuesday.
However, her right-wing rivals have also lost ground, with Conservative leader Søren Pape Poulsen suffering from internal rifts with her ex-husband over the Liberal Party’s lies.
The right bloc is likely to try to match or beat any offer made by Rasmussen’s centrist group in its bid to return to power, and negotiations to form a new government could take weeks.
This article has been updated with exit results and election campaign details.