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Denmark’s center-left “Red bloc” took power on Thursday after defeating Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen’s government in a tight election driven by voter anger over the state of the economy.
Social Democrat Helle Thorning-Schmidt will become Denmark’s next prime minister, the first woman to hold the post, after Rasmussen conceded defeat…
The center-right “Blue bloc” has been in power for 10 years, during which Denmark, like other countries, suffered the worst economic downturn since World War Two. “Tomorrow I will hand in the government’s resignation to the Queen,” Rasmussen said on TV2 News. “There is no longer a basis for remaining in government.”
Thorning-Schmidt’s Red bloc will have a majority of up to five seats in the 179-seat parliament, its final size depending on the results from far-flung Greenland.
Her Social Democratic party actually lost a seat and will only be the second largest in parliament after Rasmussen’s Liberals, who gained one.
But two Red coalition parties on the far left and in the center made up the difference to put the Red bloc ahead, allowing it to claim victory and forcing Rasmussen out.
The state of the economy has been the overriding issue of the campaign, with the governing coalition parties under fire for failing to spur growth. Thorning-Schmidt attacked Rasmussen for taking the country deep into deficit…
If the count holds up, Denmark would become the latest in a series of European countries to see incumbents voted out at least in part because of struggling economies…
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 neighboring 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 9th Danish bank to be taken over by the state since the start of the crisis in 2008.
Bravo. Ms. Thorning-Schmidt seems ready and willing to try progressive – and also unusual – solutions to what Denmark inherited from the global economic crisis. After a decade of economic charlatans and ideologues as backwards as any ever produced by the Republican Party – it’s about time Denmark gets as shot at revival.