It is election day in Denmark, which EuroNews will be covering throughout the day, and a hair’s breadth separates the two leading parties. Outgoing prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen and his Liberal/Conservative coalition have seen the healthy lead they held when they called the snap poll 15 months early whittled away by the Social Democrats and their new leader Helle Thorning-Schmidt.
Rasmussen is seeking a third term in office, and has run the country since 2001 with parliamentary support from an anti-immigrant right wing nationalist grouping, the People’s party. The Social Democrats are snapping at his heels under Thorning-Schmidt, who if she wins will become Denmark’s first female leader. She is also the daughter-in-law of former British labour leader Neil Kinnock.
But there is a new force in Danish politics. The New Alliance is led by Syrian-born Naser Khader, who calls himself a “secular muslim”, and wants to replace the People’s party as Rasmussen’s ally. In just six months he has won enough support, say opinion polls, to make the New Alliance potential kingmakers and the key partner in any future coalition government of either right or left.
No single party has held an overall majority in Denmark since before the first world war. Turnout is normally high, at around 90 percent.