Before setting off for her Easter holiday at Marselisborg Palace in Århus, the Queen of Denmark at 1.30 p.m. today received Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who came to submit his resignation. An hour later the Queen received Lars Løkke Rasmussen, the Finance Minister and deputy leader of the Liberal Party, and on Fogh’s advice appointed him Prime Minister of Denmark. Løkke temporarily keeps Fogh’s ministers, but a cabinet reshuffle is expected after Easter.
The leaders of the major opposition parties, Helle Thorning-Schmidt (Social Democrats), Villy Søvndal (The Socialist People’s Party) and Margrethe Vestager (Danish Social Liberal Party), have all called for a general election following Fogh’s resignation. They argue that Løkke’s handling of the financial crisis as Finance Minister leaves much to be desired and that the people voted for Fogh, not Løkke, in the general election in November 2007. The latter claim is however a bit far-fetched as Denmark does not have direct election of prime ministers. Fogh’s coalition partner, the Conservatives, and his ally the Danish People’s Party have both also made it clear that they do not want an election – an election which, according to the opinion polls, most likely would have led to victory for the opposition and Helle Thorning-Schmidt becoming Prime Minister.
The Danish Constitution of 1953 also does not require a general election when a Prime Minister resigns. A similar situation occurred in 1993, when the Social Democrat Poul Nyrup Rasmussen succeeded the Conservative Poul Schlüter as Prime Minister without an election.
An article (in English) in Politiken about the change of Prime Minister: