Centre-left party quits talks to form centrist Danish government

The Socialist People’s Party (Socialistisk Folkeparti, SF) on Wednesday withdrew from talks to form a new Danish government as a collaboration between the two largest parties draws closer.

Centre-left party quits talks to form centrist Danish government
SF leader Pia Olsen Dyhr confirmed her party will not continue in talks to form the next government in Denmark. Photo: Ida Marie Odgaard/Ritzau Scanpix

SF leader Pia Olsen Dyhr confirmed to newspaper Politiken that her party was out of talks to form Denmark’s next government, which have been ongoing since the election on November 1st.

Dyhr said talks had “become too blue”, meaning conservative, in an apparent reference to the likely coming together of the Social Democrats and their erstwhile rivals on the right, the Liberal (Venstre) party, in a government agreement.

READ ALSO: Danish Liberal party demands ‘high ambitions’ from Social Democrats

Although its name invokes socialism, SF is better described as a social democratic party ideologically and was the party closest aligned with the Social Democrats, which governed Denmark in the previous election period from 2019 until November’s election.

SF and other left-wing parties propped up incumbent prime minister Mette Frederiksen’s minority government during the period, but Frederiksen now wants to work with parties to the right of the Social Democrats and across the political centre.

“These have been constructive negotiations but we are too far from each other on crucial points. This is the case when it comes to climate and nature,” Dyhr said.

“The Liberals are pulling in a different direction because they are close to the agricultural sector. And things are too blue when it comes to the underprivileged,” she said.

“These are some of the things we have fought for at the negotiation table and we have really not seen much movement in relation to [helping] the poorest families,” she said.

Some 11 elected parties have taken part in the talks with Frederiksen, who was nominated as the “royal investigator” or kongelig undersøger to lead negotiations to form government after the Social Democrats won the largest vote share at the election.

Five now remain: the Liberals, the centre-left Social Liberals (Radikale Venstre) and the centrist Moderates, along with right wing parties Liberal Alliance and the Danish People’s Party.

Although the two former parties have not technically left the negotiations, they have not recently been summoned for new talks.

READ ALSO: How close is Denmark to getting a new government?

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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.