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HomeNewsDanes vote as blocs woo the middle ground

Danes vote as blocs woo the middle ground

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Danes were voting on Tuesday in what promises to be a tight election in which the balance of power could be tipped by which side of the political divide manages to woo the middle ground.

The election was triggered by the “mink crisis” that has embroiled Denmark since the government decided in November 2020 to cull the country’s roughly 15 million minks over fears of a mutated strain of the novel coronavirus.

Grey skies covered the capital as voting stations opened at 8:00 am (0700 GMT). They are scheduled to close at 8:00 pm and the first results are expected around 9:30 pm.

The latest polls give the left-wing “red bloc”, led by incumbent Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s Social Democrats, 49.1 percent against 42.4 percent for the “blues”, an informal liberal and conservative alliance, supported by three populist parties.

“This election could be really close, and there is a risk that there will be a blue government after today,” she said.

“There is a fairly high degree of volatility with Danish voters, about 40 percent change parties,” Rune Stubager, a professor of political science at Aarhus University, told AFP.

With neither bloc likely to gain an outright majority, they will be unable to govern without the help of the Moderates, a centrist party founded this year by two-time prime minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen, who is polling at 9.3 to 10 percent.

Ronja Gourlay, a 32-year-old social worker, said the fact that both sides were seeking favour with the Moderates made the decision harder.

Both the left and the right have made repeated appeals to Lokke Rasmussen, who has campaigned on reforming the healthcare system.

Liberal Party leader Jakob Ellemann-Jensen has called for Lokke Rasmussen to align with his former party colleagues on the right.

“I don’t know yet who I’m voting for,” Jensen said.

– ‘Zero refugee’ –

Advocating a “zero refugee” policy, the sitting Social Democrats government is working on setting up a centre to house asylum seekers in Rwanda while their applications are processed.

Climate, on the other hand, is of great concern to Denmark’s 5.9 million inhabitants.

The left has promised a biodiversity law and the government intends to introduce a carbon tax on agriculture, a measure supported by most other parties.

In total, no fewer than 14 parties are in the running for the 179 seats in parliament.

Voter turnout is traditionally high in Denmark. In the 2019 election, 84.6 percent of some 4.2 million eligible voters cast a ballot.

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