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Minority right-wing government takes office in Denmark

The Venstre party has been forced to go it alone after coalition talks broke down with right-wing populists. New Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen faces an uphill battle in the smallest Danish government since 1973.

Lars Loekke Rasmussen was sworn in as prime minister of Denmark on Sunday, leading a minority government composed only of his center-right Venstre party.

Despite finishing third in the polls with only 19.5 percent of the vote, Venstre decided to proceed on their own after the far-right

anti-immigration Danish People's Party (DPP)

refused to form a coalition, preferring instead to maintain their outsider status in parliament.

Rasmussen, who had previously served as prime minister from 2009 to 2011, and his cabinet officially

succeeded the previous government led by Helle Thorning-Schmidt

following their Sunday audience with Denmark's Queen Margrethe II.

Despite winning 47 seats, the most of any single party in the election, Thorning-Schmidt's Social Democrats were forced to concede defeat as the right-wing bloc won the most seats overall.

Though minority governments are relatively common in Denmark, Rasmussen's administration is in a particularly difficult position as Venstre has a mere 34 seats in the 179-seat parliament. This means they will have to compromise with the DPP, as well as two smaller right-leaning parties every time they want to push through legislation.

"We have the ambition to cooperate broadly in parliament," Rasmussen said on Sunday.

Rasmussen's government is the smallest since 1973. At that time, another Venstre government with just 22 seats lasted a mere 14 months.

The new all-Venstre cabinet compromises 17 members, only five of which are women. One of those women is Inger Stoejberg, the new minister for foreigners and integration. Stoejberg will be tasked with making good on

campaign promises to toughen Denmark's rules on granting asylum.

"This is an absolute dream ministry for me," the minister told TV2 news.

es/ng (AFP, dpa)

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