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Danish opposition to elect new leader amid party turmoil

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Danish opposition to elect new leader amid party turmoil

Photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix

Denmark’s centre-right Liberal Party, which has been in the opposition since June, will elect a new leader today.

Former party leader Lars Lokke Rasmussen resigned on August 31 following weeks of internal tension, particularly with former finance minister Kristen Jensen. Now, former environment and food minister Jakob Ellemann-Jensen and ex-immigration minister Inger Stojberg will contest today’s vote, although Jensen is widely expected to emerge victorious.

If elected, Jensen indicated he would shelve talks on a cross-aisle governing partnership with the centre-left Social Democrats—an issue that has divided the party since June 5 elections. Meanwhile, Jensen’s potential election would likely smooth intra-party conflict and manoeuvring among the 850 delegates at the congress.

Jensen has said a partnership would compromise the party’s conservative stances, particularly on immigration, government spending and welfare programs. The party could turn to far-right populist tactics in opposition as has happened elsewhere in Europe in recent years. Indeed, the Liberal Party appears headed further to the right with four years to enlarge its base before the next elections.

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Photo: Stimson Center

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