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Denmark's Social Democrats move back into power

June 5, 2019

Social Democrats have taken the most seats in an election centered on issues of immigration, climate and welfare. Left-leaning parties did well, while support for the populist Danish People's Party plummeted.

Ballots are being counted after the polling stations closed in Copenhagen City Hall during the final day of the parliamentary elections in Denmark  June 5, 2019
Image: Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix/Uffe Weng

Denmark's Social Democrats won the largest share of the vote in the country's parliamentary election on Wednesday, with the preliminary results showing populists shedding support.   

Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen of the Liberal Party conceded defeat to the center-left party led by Mette Frederiksen, which appeared to have gained support thanks to its adoption of a tougher stance on immigration. 

Main preliminary election results:

  • The Social Democrats won 26.2%. It and other left-wing parties that form the "red bloc" in the Danish parliament are set to win a total of 91 out of 179 seats.
  • The center-right Liberal Party garnered 23.4%, up almost 4 percentage points since 2015. But its center-right bloc, which is currently in power, is set to get only 75 parliamentary seats.
  • The right-wing populist Danish People's Party won 8.8%, down from 21.1% in 2015. 
  • Six other parties made it into parliament.
  • Voter turnout was typically high, at about 85%

Minority government: Frederiksen, 41, said that the Social Democrats would try to run a minority government. Such governments are common in Denmark, where ruling parties often seek support from different parties to pass laws on a case-by-case basis. Frederiksen said she would seek support from right-wing parties on immigration, while reaching out to the left on issues such as welfare and climate change.

Not just immigration: The Social Democrats also campaigned on bolstering efforts to fight climate change and increasing spending on welfare programs and healthcare after years of budget cuts under Prime Minister Rasmussen.

Far-right in flux: The results show that many supporters of Danish People's Party, which often voted with the center-right Liberals on immigration, shifted to the Social Democrats after they adopted tougher immigration policies. Danish People's Party leader Kristian Thulesen Dahl admitted the results were "really, really bad," but said he would continue to lead the party.

Extreme right: Parties focused on an anti-immigration platform had mixed results. The anti-Muslim Hard Line failed to make it over the 2% threshold to enter parliament, while The New Right won 2.3% to enter parliament for the first time. 


cw,amp/se (dpa, AFP, Reuters, AP)

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