Danish Prime Minister Frederiksen presents new government

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen on Thursday presented a three-party majority coalition that crosses the left-right divide and includes the leader of the Liberal Party and a former prime minister in key jobs.

It was the first time in 44 years that such a centrist government had been formed, bringing an end to the two blocs that have opposed each other for decades.

Liberal leader Jakob Ellemann-Jensen became defense minister while former prime minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen — who once headed the Liberals but left it and created earlier this year the centrist Moderate party that wanted to bridge the center gap — was put in charge of foreign affairs.

The government will have 23 ministries, of which Frederiksen’s Social Democrats get 11 offices while the Liberals get seven and the Moderates five. There are eight women and 15 men.

The new governing coalition was announced late Tuesday after 42 days of talks following the Nov. 1 general elections. The three parties control 89 seats in the 179-seat parliament and are also supported by the four lawmakers representing the semi-independent Danish territories of Greenland and the Faeroe Islands.

The last time Denmark was governed by a centrist coalition was in 1978 when the Social Democrats teamed up with the Liberals. That lasted eight months.

Frederiksen was forced to call the vote earlier this year amid the fallout from her government’s contentious decision to cull millions of minks as a pandemic response measure. The cull and chilling images of mass graves of minks haunted Frederiksen since 2020 and eventually led to cracks in the center-left bloc.

During the election campaign, Frederiksen had said she wanted to aim for a center-right government after the vote.

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