Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Gaza: How to Stop the Spiral? Israel Readies For Ground Offensive (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Gaza: How to Stop the Spiral? Israel Readies For Ground Offensive

Read more

FOCUS

Ireland's missing babies casting light on a dark history...

Read more

WEB NEWS

World Cup 2014: Germany-Brazil inspires the Web

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Boutros-Ghali: 'I wanted to reform the UN'

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

57 000 little problems

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

The Sarkozy 'threat'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Budget challenge for India's new government

Read more

DEBATE

Africa's Newest Failed State: How to Stop Civil War and Famine in South Sudan? (part 2)

Read more

  • French companies will have to accept anonymous CVs

    Read more

  • Germany asks US intelligence station chief to leave country

    Read more

  • Death toll rises in Gaza as militants target Israeli cities

    Read more

  • UN chief Ban Ki-moon appoints new Syria mediator

    Read more

  • Video: Muslims in China confront obstacles to Ramadan fasting

    Read more

  • Tour de France passes WWI Chemin des Dames battlefield

    Read more

  • Senegalese man awarded French visa in gay marriage debate

    Read more

  • Israel steps up airstrikes as diplomacy gets under way

    Read more

  • Argentina beat Netherlands on penalties to reach World Cup final

    Read more

  • Foiled French jihadist ‘targeted Louvre and Eiffel Tower’

    Read more

  • Obama in Texas to urge congressional action on child migrant crisis

    Read more

  • Iraq’s heritage 'in danger' from ISIS militants

    Read more

  • Froome crashes out of Tour de France

    Read more

  • South Sudan independence heroes ‘have lost their way’

    Read more

  • 100 years on, the Tour de France returns to the Western Front

    Read more

Europe

First female PM ends 10 years of centre-right rule

©

Video by Alix LE BOURDON , Catherine VIETTE

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-09-16

After sweeping up an election victory to become Denmark's first female prime minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt begins the gruelling task of assembling a centre-left government on Friday, marking the end of a decade of centre-right rule.

REUTERS - Denmark’s prime minister-in-waiting, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, begins the tricky task on Friday of piecing together a centre-left government after an election which ended 10 years of centre-right rule.

Climbing rather than sweeping to victory on Thursday, Thorning-Schmidt led a diverse “Red bloc” of parties that succeeded in tapping voter anger about the state of the economy and ousting Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen.
 
It was the latest in a series of defeats for incumbents in European countries.
 
Rasmussen was to tender his formal resignation later in the day, opening the way for Social Democrat Thorning-Schmidt to try to form a government.
 
She will be Denmark’s first woman prime minister.
 
“We did it,” she said as supporters chanted “Helle, Helle” in an early hours celebration. “Today is a day of change.”
 
Her Red bloc won a slim majority of five seats in Denmark’s 179-seat parliament, according to a preliminary tally. Turnout was a high 87.7 percent.
 
Complicating the task of forming a government is the fact that the two biggest winners of the night were the far-left Red-Green Alliance and the centrist Social Liberals.
 
Both back Thorning-Schmidt but agree on little else.  Thorning-Schmidt’s own Social Democrats actually lost ground and will be the second largest party after Rasmussen’s Liberals.
 
“That is the political challenge,” said Jorgen Elklit, political scientist at the University of Aarhus. “It will certainly take days, maybe weeks to form a government.”
 
The economy will be the first task. Thorning-Schmidt’s platform included increased government spending, raising taxes on the wealthy and an unusual plan to make everyone work 12 minutes more per day. An extra hour each week, her group argues, would help kick-start economic growth.
 
Angry voters
 
With Thorning-Schmidt’s election, Denmark becomes the latest in a series of European countries to vote out incumbents at least in part because of struggling economies.
 
Ireland, Britain, Portugal, Finland and The Netherlands have all seen changes.
 
Spain’s Socialist government is facing possible defeat in a Nov. 20 general election and German Chancellor Angela Merkel has lost a series of state elections since May 2010. 
 
Denmark has been spared much of the trauma suffered by other west European countries because it remains outside the euro zone. This means it is not involved in bailing out debt-laden countries like Greece, an issue that has stirred popular anger in neighbouring Germany. 
 
But the economic crisis has turned Denmark’s healthy surpluses into deficits, forecast to climb to 4.6 percent of GDP next year. 
 
Danish banks have also been struggling, with small bank Fjordbank Mors falling into the hands of administrators in June, the ninth Danish bank to be taken over by the state since the start of the crisis in 2008. 
 
The new prime minister is part of an extended European political family, married to the son of Neil and Glenys Kinnock.  Neil was a European commissioner and British Labour Party leader, Glenys a European parliamentary deputy and Europe minister in the last Labour government.
 

 

Date created : 2011-09-16

  • DENMARK

    Denmark's centre-left opposition 'heading for victory'

    Read more

  • DENMARK

    Denmark voters likely to elect country's first female PM

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)