‘Mette Frederiksen has changed’: Danish left-wing parties exit government talks

Talks to form a new Danish government appeared to enter a new phase on Wednesday with left-wing parties informed they are no longer part of negotiations.

'Mette Frederiksen has changed': Danish left-wing parties exit government talks
Acting Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen confirmed on Wednesday that the number of parties involved in talks to form a new government has been whittled down to 7. Photo: Ida Marie Odgaard/Ritzau Scanpix

The left-wing Red Green Alliance (Enhedslisten) party was present at the prime minister’s offices on Wednesday to discuss climate, environment and green transition policies.

But its lead political spokesperson Mai Villadsen subsequently said she had been informed by acting Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen that the Red Green Alliance was no longer part of the ongoing negotiations.

The Social Democrats intend to form a government with parties from the conservative ‘blue bloc’, Villadsen said.

“Mette Frederiksen has turned her back on the red-green majority,” she tweeted, referring to the one-seat majority gained by the ‘red bloc’ of left-wing and environmentalist parties in the November 1st election.

Frederiksen has “unambiguously chosen the right wing,” Villadsen added.

“A glaring mistake and a new right-leaning Social Democratic party we are now seeing,” she wrote.

The Red Green Alliance was one of three left-wing or centre-left parties which propped up Frederiksen’s minority Social Democratic government from its election in 2019 until the election earlier this month.

The other two parties, the Socialist People’s Party (SF) and the Social Liberals (Radikale Venstre) remain part of negotiations.

The environmentalist Alternative party, another member of the red bloc, has also been ejected from the talks, its leader Franciska Rosenkilde told broadcaster TV2.

The far-right Nye Borgerlige party was also reported to have left the talks on Wednesday but the libertarian Liberal Alliance and national conservative Danish People’s Party remain involved, as do fellow ‘blue bloc’ parties the Conservatives and Liberals.

The Liberal (Venstre) party, the largest in the ‘blue bloc’ conservative group, ruled out governing with Frederiksen prior to the election, but has since moved to a more open stance.

Suggestions the Liberals may be prepared to enter government with the Social Democrats gained momentum following a Liberal party national conference last weekend.

“Confidence [in Frederiksen] is at a very low point when she chooses the blue bloc over the red-green majority,” Villadsen told news wire Ritzau.

She also argued that Frederiksen’s politics have changed.

“This is a new Mette Frederiksen and a very different one to the one who emerged as a left winger in the Social Democrats, who wanted to invest in welfare, and who we have had a good working relationship with in many areas,” she said.

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Moderate party downplays importance of joining new Danish government 

After another round of negotiations with acting Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, Moderate leader Lars Løkke Rasmussen says it’s beside the point if his party joins Frederiksen’s vision of a ‘broad, central’ government.

Moderate party downplays importance of joining new Danish government 

Rasmussen, who was Prime Minister before Frederiksen when leader of the Liberal (Venstre) party, led the newly-formed Moderates into parliament in their first election on a platform of installing a centrist government.

The Moderates have a relatively strong hand in the negotiations with their 16 seats from 9.3 percent of the vote share in the election, which took place one month ago.

“For us, it’s not a separate ambition to be part of such a government,” Rasmussen said outside of the prime minister’s official residence at Marienborg on Wednesday.

“Whether we are in or not is less important. But we want to put ourselves in a position where we can influence the content. That’s what matters,” he said. 

“It strikes me that Mette Frederiksen and I go a long way towards sharing the analysis of what’s good for Denmark,” he added.

READ ALSO: What does Denmark’s Liberal party want from government negotiations?

Rasmussen has previously backed a potential government involving the Social Democrats and Liberals along with the Moderates, calling it an “excellent starting point”.

But he said on Wednesday that his party could lend support to a central coalition without being part of the government itself.

The Moderates could be influential “by forming the parliamentary basis for a government which consists of parties from both sides of the infamous political centre,” he said.

Although the centrist party is heavily involved in talks led by Frederiksen, it does not have decisive seats which could give either the left or right wings an overall majority. The left wing ‘red bloc’ took a single-seat victory in the November 1st election, meaning a left-wing government could be formed without the support of the Moderates.

But Frederiksen has eschewed the option of a government reliant on the support of the parties furthest to the left, the Red Green Alliance and Alternative, maintaining her pre-election pledge to seek a coalition across the centre.

There is no majority which could put a ‘blue bloc’ or conservative government in place.

READ ALSO: Five things to know about the Danish election result