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Contradicting Europe’s right-wing rise, the Danish Social Democrats have won the Danish Parliamentary election on September 15. The election have ended a decade of center-right majority in the Danish Parliament whilst electing their first female leader, Helle Thorning-Schmidt.
According to three polls released on the 14th September, voters were ready for a change as they prepared to cast their vote on the 15th, in order to elect the 179 members of Parliament. The Prime Minister in office Lars Loekke Rasmussen, who took over two years ago, replacing Anders Fogh Rasmussen who went on to be NATO Secretary General, was not taken too kindly by the Danish people as early voters cast their ballots and criticized his policies. Rasmussen lead a coalition composed of pro-market Liberals and Conservatives and was supported by the Danish People’s Party (DPP), a far-right and xenophobic party.
The election is expected to usher in the end of market reforms and strict border control, while the Socialist Democratic party will make a comeback as the majority leader in the Parliament, after 10 years in opposition.
Even though significant changes aren’t expected, Thorning-Schmidt, 44, hopes to protect the welfare system by raising taxes on banks and the rich and refrain from several austerity measures formulated by the government in order to avoid waves of contagion from debt-ridden countries. Altough Denmark did not hop on the Euro train, its economy relies on the export of national products to other European countries and its currency is subject to the uncertainty attached to the Eurozone.
According to a recent Associated Press interview, “We have a government that has believed that austerity was the right way to achieve more growth in Denmark,” Thorning-Schmidt said, “Austerity and tax cuts are not the right course for Denmark. What we want to achieve is to create more growth, kickstart the economy and then after that create the foundation for a new sustainable growth.”
The votes of Thurday’s election have been accounted for and resulted in a narrow win for the Social Democrats, with 92 seats, against the 87 seats won by Rasmussen’s coalition. Thorning-Schmidt must now manage a left-wing alliance consisted of former marxists, environmentalists, social democrats and liberals, who don’t see eye to eye in a small array of topics. There is some evidence of possible disagreement among the coalition parties. Margrethe Vestager, leader of the Socialist Liberal party, agreed to the austerity package presented by the previous government and is not backing away from that decision:
“We have made a deal which we believe is really good. It means that we will get more money in the chest and a sound economical starting point,” she said. Thorning-Schmidt’s toughest challenge has proved to be finding room in her Cabinet for the leaders of the Socialist Liberal Party and the Socialist People’s Party. According to political analyst Rune Stubager of the University of Aarhus “Her two coalition parties will try to almost tear her apart. The early retirement issue will be a big one for them to deal with.”
Hopefully, the election have created a turning point in immigration policy, as ten years of strict immigration and refugee legislation come to an end.