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Danish Prime Minister Stages Comeback in Tight General Election

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(Bloomberg) — Denmark’s Social Democratic Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen was unexpectedly set to win a majority in a general election, likely to secure her another four-year term at the helm of the Nordic country.

Frederiksen and her allies in the left-leaning red bloc won 87 seats as all votes had been tallied, after early polling indicated she would falter. That compares with 73 mandates for the right-wing opposition blue bloc and 16 for a newly emerged center party the Moderates, which had been widely expected to become a kingmaker following the vote.

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The outcome will allow the prime minister to put a pandemic-era mink scandal finally behind her and push forward with climate policies, including spurring the transition to green energy, as well as fixing the health service, which she pledged to do as part of her campaign. Given the consensus-driven nature of Danish politics and the krone’s peg to the euro, markets are unlikely to move on the election result.

For the first hours of the vote count, the 44-year-old prime minister was on track to lose her majority, which would have forced her to the negotiating table with Lars Lokke Rasmussen, a former two-term prime minister who five months ago founded the centrist Moderates. Her campaign, much like the past two years of her premiership, was weighed by a decision to kill the country’s mink population during the pandemic, later found to have been unlawful.

Frederiksen has spoken about a broad government, going as far as to propose forming a grand coalition spanning the political spectrum with Lokke Rasmussen and the parties from the right. But the opposition leader, Jakob Ellemann-Jensen of the Liberals, has ruled out such a partnership, partly due to her role in the mink cull.

An element of uncertainty is created by two seats from Greenland, which Frederiksen needs to retain control in the 179-seat legislature. Those will be announced Wednesday. She gained one seat from the Faroe Islands with one going to the opposition. 

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