Rasmussen replaces Rasmussen as Denmark′s prime minister | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 05.04.2009
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Rasmussen replaces Rasmussen as Denmark's prime minister

Danish Finance Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen has been named the country's new prime minister after his namesake Anders Fogh Rasmussen formally stepped down on Sunday to become NATO's secretary general.

Lars Loekke Rasmussen outside the castle in Copenhagen.

Loekke Rasmussen, like his predecessor, belongs to the Liberal Party

Denmark's Queen Margrethe asked Lars Loekke Rasmussen to form a government on Sunday, April 5, after he received backing from the ruling center-right coalition.

Denmark's constitution does not require new elections to be held if a prime minister resigns.

The cabinet is also set to resign later this week, leaving Loekke Rasmussen a free hand to appoint a new government.

But the new prime minister -- who is one of the youngest in Denmark's history -- said he would not make many changes.

"I'll continue on the same path as Anders Fogh Rasmussen to work for a richer and fairer Denmark," he said, adding he hoped to have completed the cabinet within a few days. "There will be no political difference," he said.

As well as taking over the role of Prime Minister at a time of economic crisis, Loekke Rasmussen inherits the task of leading negotiations at a major climate change conference in Copenhagen at the end of the year. Delegates at the UN conference are set to come up with a replacement for the Kyoto Protocol.

Anders Fogh Ramussen resigned as Denmark's prime minister after he was named the new head of NATO on Saturday. He will succeed Jaap de Hoof Scheffer, after he steps down at the end of July.

Analysts tip Fogh Rasmussen's key aide and party strategist, Claus Frederiksen, to become the new finance minister.

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