Denmark’s Conservative party quits talks to form government

The Danish Conservative party has left negotiations to form a new government out after weeks of talks with acting Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and the Social Democrats. 

Denmark’s Conservative party quits talks to form government
Danish Conservative leader Søren Pape Poulsen announced his party’s exit from talks to form a new government. Photo: Ida Marie Odgaard/Ritzau Scanpix

Conservative leader Søren Pape Poulsen announced the departure in a Facebook post on Saturday.

“I was genuinely interested in seeing how much common ground we could find,” Poulsen wrote of the discussions between the two parties, which are usually part of opposing ‘blocs’ on the left and right wings of Danish politics.

“At the end of the day, I don’t think [joining a government with Frederiksen and the Social Democrats] is compatible with the promises we made in the election campaign and what I’ve said about such a government. Politics is also very much about credibility,” Poulsen wrote. 

The decision has the support of the Conservative parliamentary group, he also stated.

Before the November 1st election, the Conservatives rules out going into government with the Social Democrats, stating they would only back a ‘blue bloc’ government comprised solely of conservative parties.

But the party softened its stance following the election, in which it received a disappointing 5.5 percent of the vote share.

“I promised before the election that whoever becomes prime minister, my party will take a constructive approach to all negotiations with the ambition of making Denmark a better country,” Poulsen wrote in Saturday’s social media post.

The move to leave the talks by the Conservatives is a strategic one according to Christine Cordsen, political correspondent with broadcaster DR.

“If the Liberals [centre right party Venstre, ed.] end up joining the government — which is very likely —then Pape will have the opportunity to take on the role of opposition leader in the remnants of the blue bloc and perhaps use it to revive the Conservatives,” Cordsen said. 

Six of the 12 parties elected to parliament at the election now remain in government talks with the Social Democrats.

These are the Liberals, Liberal Alliance and Danish People’s Party from the ‘blue bloc’ and the Social Liberal (Radikale Venstre) and Socialist People’s Party (SF), from the red bloc side. The centrist Moderates are the final party.

READ ALSO: What does Denmark’s Liberal party want from government negotiations?

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Danish government split over repatriation of women and children from Syria

Only one of the three parties in Denmark’s coalition government has stated it wants to repatriate women with national connections to Denmark from Kurdish-run prison camps in Syria.

Danish government split over repatriation of women and children from Syria

The Moderate party, one of the junior parties in the coalition, wants Danish children to be repatriated from the al-Roj prison camp in northern Syria, even if it means their mothers are evacuated with them.

The other two parties, the Social Democrats and Liberals (Venstre), still oppose bringing the women back to Denmark.

The two latter parties have stated that they only want to evacuate the children and not the mothers, who are in the camps because they have been sympathisers of the Islamic State (Isis) terror group or spouses of Isis militants.

As such, the government is split over the question of whether to retrieve the five children and three mothers from the camp, where they have now been marooned for several years.

Human rights organisations have in the past expressed concerns over the conditions at the prison camps and Denmark has faced criticism for not evacuating children there who have connections to Denmark.


Current government policy does not evacuate children from the two camps without their mothers and will not evacuate mothers if their Danish citizenship has been revoked.

A recent headline case saw a mother from the camp win an appeal against a Danish immigration ministry decision to revoke her citizenship, meaning she now has the right to be evacuated. She was expected to be prosecuted by Denmark under terrorism laws on her return to the country.

Denmark’s Scandinavian neighbour Norway on Wednesday repatriated two sisters who went to Syria as teenagers as well as their three children, citing abysmal conditions in the camp where they were housed.

Foreign Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen, leader of the Moderate party, said at a parliamentary committee hearing on Wednesday that the government will state its agreed position on the issue “soon”, news wire Ritzau reports.

“The government will make a decision on the government’s position on the basis of the updated government policy position. And I expect we will do that soon,” he said.

Rasmussen said in January that the government had asked the relevant authorities to provide up-to-date information related to the Danish children who remain in the camps.

That information is expected to form the “policy position” (beslutningsgrundlag) referred to by Rasmussen in his committee comments.