Danes handed over another mandate to their current prime minister in Tuesday’s polls, which was seen as a vote of confidence in Mette Frederiksen’s handling of the pandemic and her ability as a leader to overcome another crisis.
The Social Democrats secured their strongest support in more than two decades, despite criticism of Frederiksen’s term of office for centralizing power around her office and her controversial decision to eradicate all minks during the pandemic.
“I’m so excited and proud. We have achieved the best election result in 20 years,” Frederiksen told his supporters early Wednesday in Copenhagen.
“Thanks to all the Danes who have entrusted us with their vote. It is a huge vote of confidence. I know that some of you had doubts along the way.”
In an exciting election campaign, two different vote-counting forecasts from the country’s largest broadcasters questioned until the last moment whether the ruling left-wing bloc could retain its majority.
With 27.5% of the vote, the Social Democrats were once again the largest in parliament.
The left-wing bloc received 87 seats in parliament with 179 seats, which, with the support of a mandate from the Faroe Islands, gave it a majority, and two seats yet to be determined in Greenland, a sovereign area of Denmark that frequently elects left-wing candidates.
A majority of left-wing parties is likely to pose a dilemma for Frederiksen, who has advocated a broad coalition across the traditional left-right divide and argues that political unity is needed in a time of international uncertainty.
However, forming a broad coalition could prove difficult, as most of their left-wing allies say they would prefer a purely left-wing government.
Frederiksen has led the country through one of the most chaotic conditions that a Danish government has faced in decades and must deal with a pandemic, rising inflation, and geopolitical uncertainty.
The election came just a month after the sabotage of two pipelines carrying gas from Russia to Germany through Danish waters sparked an unprecedented sense of insecurity among the Danes.
“In Denmark, we have been used to progress for many years. We are now facing difficulties, and the crises are linked to war in Europe, energy scarcity, inflation and climate challenges,” said Frederiksen.
She said she would present the Queen with the resignation of her one-party government on Wednesday and try to form a broad government.
It could start negotiations with former Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen and his new non-aligned centrist party, the Moderates, who have also advocated a coalition of mainstream parties.
The left-wing parties that Frederiksen can rely on to form a new government include the Socialist People’s Party, the Red-Green Alliance and the Social Liberal Party, the latter of which was formerly led by European Union Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager.
Opposition leader Jakob Ellemann-Jensen from the Liberal Party admitted defeat early on Wednesday. His party lost 19 of their 43 seats in parliament.