Social Liberal political leader Martin Lidegaard told Danish media that the centre-left party was not satisfied with the level of compromise shown by other parties over children and youth welfare as well as climate.
“Our last-minute ‘no thanks’ to joining the government is because we could not reach the same level of ambition when it came to Denmark’s future,” Lidegaard told broadcaster DR in reference to the political areas in question.
“We think we can have more influence by being outside in a good partnership with the new government and by trying to push ambitions upwards on these areas,” he said.
Political observers in Denmark expect a government to be announced within the next few days. Talks have been ongoing for weeks since the November 1st election.
The exit of the Social Liberals leaves the Liberal (Venstre) party and the Moderate party as the potential partners in coalition with the Social Democrats, who are led by acting prime minister Mette Frederiksen.
Apart from the Social Democrats, it is now certain that all parties from Denmark’s traditional ‘red bloc’ of allied parties on the left will be outside of the new government, despite the one-seat majority won by the bloc at the election.
The Social Democrats, Social Liberals and Moderates all stated before the election that they wanted to break from the traditional ‘bloc’ system of opposing right and left-wing factions and create a centre coalition. The Liberals were against the plan before the election but have since changed their stance.
The policies of a coalition of the Social Democrats, Liberals and Moderates are as yet unannounced, but the Liberal party is expected to be given considerable concessions on tax cuts, a policy not usually favoured by the Social Democrats, traditionally a pro-labour party.
The Moderates are led by Lars Løkke Rasmussen, Frederiksen’s predecessor as PM who is also a former leader of the centre-right Liberals.
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Lidegaard said that the Social Liberals would be neither an opposition party nor a “support party” (støtteparti in Danish) to the new government, meaning they will not prop up the government if it has a parliamentary minority.
Because Denmark operates a system of negative parliamentarism, a government can be formed provided a majority in parliament does not oppose it.
In either case, the three remaining parties in the talks can in fact muster a de facto majority without the participation of the Social Liberals.
‘Support party’ arrangements are common in Danish politics because the large number of parties means that minority governments or minority coalitions are not an unlikely occurrence.
Prior to the election, the Social Democrats governed as a minority propped up by three smaller left-wing ‘support’ parties, including the Social Liberals.
READ ALSO: Centre-left party quits talks to form centrist Danish government
“I have always dreamed of a [centre coalition] government. But in the end, you must consider how to do the most for the climate, children and our entire education system. We can probably do that best from the outside,” Lidegaard told DR.
The Social Liberals have demanded that the Social Democrats scrap plans to open an asylum processing facility in Rwanda, a position the latter party has refused to move on.
Lidegaard said the irreconcilable differences in the talks were not over Rwanda, however. An agreement on the issue has been reached, he said.
A policy agreement for a new government could be presented on Wednesday, according to the Social Liberal leader.