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Iran Press TV

Left-wing opposition defeats Danish PM's right-wing party

Iran Press TV

Thu Jun 6, 2019 12:11AM

Denmark's Liberal Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen has conceded defeat in the country's general election, after the left-wing opposition bloc emerged victorious.

"We had a really good election, but there will be a change of government," Rasmussen told supporters at an election rally on Wednesday night, after his Liberal party, which has been in power for 14 of the past 18 years, came in second behind the Social Democrats.

Rasmussen said he would resign Thursday from the post he has held since 2015.

Rasmussen's center-right Liberal Party was getting about 23 percent of the votes, an improvement. But a big loss by the populist Danish People's Party means the prime minister will no longer be able to muster a majority in the 179-seat Parliament.

The leader of the Social Democrats, Mette Frederiksen, said voters had decided a new direction for the country.

"Tonight we have gotten a victory" for the center-left, Frederiksen said.

The Social Democrats were emerging as Parliament's biggest party. It and four other left-leaning parties appeared headed to having 91 of 179 seats in the new Parliament.

Rasmussen said his government would continue as caretaker. He said would recommend a governing coalition with the Social Democrats and his Liberal Party.

Unlike in other European countries, far-right populists don't seem to be on the rise in Denmark. Before the vote, Nicolai Wammen, the Social Democrats' No. 2 official, said the party had "a positive feeling about this election."

The results will signal a collapse for the anti-immigrant Danish People's Party, which has informally supported Prime Minister Rasmussen's Liberal Party.

The Danish People's Party, which has supported successive right-wing governments in exchange for tighter immigration policies for the last two decades, saw its support halved to around 10 percent.

As restrictive immigration policies have been broadly adopted by almost all other parties, the Danish People's Party has lost its appeal.

The Social Democrats, last in power between 2011 and 2015, were widely seen as favorites going into the vote. The Social Democrats -- led by Frederiksen, a party veteran at 41 who made her debut in parliament at 24 -- have also changed their tone on immigration.

On Wednesday, as Frederiksen cast her vote in the Copenhagen suburb of Varlose, she told reporters her party's tougher immigration proposals were winning back supporters.

"Some Social Democrat voters who have been lost in the last few years, who didn't support our migration policy, are returning this time," she said.

Frederiksen herself denounced Denmark's policy as one of the "toughest in Europe", in the early 2000s. But under her leadership, the Social Democrats last year proposed, as part of their crackdown on immigration, to send asylum seekers to special camps in North Africa while their requests are processed.

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