Danish PM aims to expand minority government with 2 parties

AP News
Posted: Nov 19, 2016 7:49 AM

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — After 17 months leading a one-party, minority government, Denmark's center-right prime minister said Saturday he wants to expand his Cabinet and has invited two more parties to join.

Lars Loekke Rasmussen said he had invited the center-right Liberal Alliance and the Conservative Party to join the Cabinet he formed after the June 28, 2015 election. He didn't call early elections.

His Liberal Party holds 34 of Parliament's 179 seats and can only stay in power with support from the two small parties and the anti-immigration, populist Danish People's Party.

"It will, of course, require that we all make compromises," Loekke Rasmussen said. "A three-clover government will have many benefits."

Loekke Rasmussen said the leaders of the Liberal Alliance and Conservative parties were invited to talks starting Monday because the ruling party has more in common with them than with the Danish People's Party. Both party leaders have said they will attend.

His move was seen as a way to pressure the Liberal Alliance to water down its demand to cut the top income tax rate by 5 percentage points. The party has threatened to bring down the government, if its demand is not met.

If the pair joins, Loekke Rasmussen's government would still be shy of a 90-seat majority in Parliament require support from the Danish People's Party and its 37 seats. The party vehemently opposes tax cuts for the wealthy.

Pundits say the reason the prime minister is not calling an election is recent opinion polls showing the left-leaning opposition bloc has a lead and could likely form a government

Loekke Rasmussen's government has been behind tightening of Denmark's immigration law with the support of the opposition Social Democrats.