Danish socialists name new head, ministerial reshuffle seen

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 13, 2012 8:52 AM
Danish socialists name new head, ministerial reshuffle seen

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Denmark's Socialist People' Party, a junior partner in the coalition government, on Saturday elected Annette Vilhelmsen as new leader of the party.

Vilhelmsen will face a challenge trying to revive the party's political popularity, which along with coalition partner the Social Democrats has been dragged down by the government's perceived failure to stick to election promises.

The Socialist People's Party became part of the "Red bloc" alliance in September last year when Denmark's first woman prime minister, Social Democrat Helle Thorning-Schmidt, ended a decade of center-right rule.

Her "Red bloc" alliance includes the Socialist People's Party and the more centrist Social Liberals.

The Socialist People's Party has six ministers out of 22 in the government and is now likely to reshuffle or replace them.

"We are facing a big task uniting the party," Vilhelmsen said, addressing the party after the vote on Saturday.

"The Socialist People's Party is fully and completely supporting the government's program," Vilhelmsen said, seeking to reassure coalition partners the party had no intention of withdrawing support.

Fresh elections are not due until 2015.

(Reporting by Mette Fraende; Editing by Myra MacDonald)