The Danish prime minister has to go to the polls on November 1st

Cornered, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen had no choice. Her parliamentary allies, the Social Liberals (Radikale Venstre), threatened her with a vote of no confidence this Thursday, October 6, if she didn’t call general elections before then. To avoid this humiliation, the leader of the Social Democrats announced on Wednesday that the election would be held on June 1stah November, launching a flash campaign in a particularly tense domestic and geopolitical context.

In Denmark, outgoing prime ministers have an advantage: they decide when voters are called to the ballot box, provided it is within four years of the last election. In May 2019, the liberal Lars Lokke Rasmussen, who had headed the government since 2015, announced the hospitalization of Mme Frederiksen at the start of the election campaign. She suffered from a serious gastrointestinal illness and had missed the first major television debate, where party leaders traditionally meet on the evening of the election meeting.

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Mette Frederiksen would probably have preferred to wait this time as well. Her term was due to end in June 2023. But she had one “Gun to the Head”, summarizes the political scientist Martin Vinæs Larsen. The leader of the Social Democrats admitted that the timing was far from ideal. In Denmark, dissatisfaction is growing as inflation hits its highest level in forty years. The economic crisis is imminent. And since September 26, the Scandinavian kingdom has been facing an unprecedented situation after the explosions on the Nord Stream gas pipelines, located in its exclusive economic zone off the island of Bornholm.

Mink Inquiry Board

Mme However, Frederiksen was not surprised. The leader of the social-liberal party, Sofie Carsten Nilesen, issued her ultimatum on July 2 this summer. “A fresh start is needed”she wrote in a message on Facebook at the time, arguing the polarization on the political scene after the 1,600-page report by the commission of inquiry into mink was published four days earlier.

For nearly a year, a judge, a law professor and two lawyers interviewed about a hundred people, including the prime minister, members of her government and her cabinet. The goal: to establish responsibilities for the decision that led Mette Frederiksen to order the slaughter of the entire Danish mink herd, i.e. more than 15 million animals, on November 4, 2020, to prevent the spread of a SARS variant. CoV-2 observed in these mammals.

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