Six parties expected to continue in Danish government negotiations

Although 11 Danish political parties are still part of acting Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s negotiations to form a new government, a commentator predicts the field to be reduced to six parties on Wednesday or soon after.

Six parties expected to continue in Danish government negotiations
The Red Green Alliance is among parties not expected to remain in talks over the new Danish government beyond this week, according to a political commentator. Photo: Ida Marie Odgaard/Ritzau Scanpix

In addition to the Social Democrats (Frederiksen’s own party), the Liberals (Venstre), the Moderates, the Socialist People’s Party (SF), the Conservatives and the Social Liberals (Radikale Venstre) will continue with the process, political commentator Hans Engell predicts.

Of the 12 parties elected to parliament in the November 1st elections, only one party – the national conservative Denmark Democrats – has so far quit the talks.

That has left a broad range of parties spanning both the right and left wings still involved in negotiations with Frederiksen, who was nominated as the ‘royal investigator’ or kongelig undersøger responsible for attempting to form government.

Traditional ‘red bloc’ or left wing parties won a single-seat majority in the election, but Frederiksen is attempting to form a coalition government across the centre, potentially including traditional rivals and second-biggest party the Liberals.

READ ALSO: What would Danish centre coalition mean for conservative ‘blue bloc’?

Engell said he expects the Red Green Alliance (Enhedslisten), a party within the traditional red bloc, to leave negotiations — and that could spell trouble if Frederiksen’s plan to form a broad government with the Liberal Party crumbles. 

“My guess is that the government will take a break to think things over after the first rounds of talks with all parties. And then a smaller group of parties will be concentrated on,” Engell told news wire Ritzau.

“That means there will be six parties who will participate in ongoing negotiations. And there will be six parties who no longer participate. And the parties which aren’t there any more will include fringe parties like the Red Green Alliance, Alternative and Nye Borgerlige,” he said.

The first two parties mentioned by Engell are left-wing parties with socialist and environmentalist ideologies, respectively, while the latter party is a right-wing anti-immigration, libertarian party.

Like the Social Democrats, the Moderates and Social Liberals favour a centre coalition.

The Liberal party 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.

In a speech during the conference, Liberal leader Jakob Ellemann-Jensen said his party must “stand on its own accord” and that there was “not a unified conservative project amongst the blue parties”.

The Liberals are the party on which the success of the plan to form a centrist government hinges, according to Engell.

“If the Liberals and Social Democrats don’t reach an arrangement then it’s hard to see what other form of partnership could be optimal,” he said.

Frederiksen must not sever ties with the Red Green Alliance entirely, he warned. The left-wing party won 9 seats in parliament at the election, with Alternative taking 6.

“The Red Green Alliance must be out, but not so much that they can’t be brought back in if it turns out to be necessary,” he said.

READ ALSO: Danish government: Rasmussen backs coalition with traditional rivals

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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