The resignation yesterday of Denmark’s Minister of Defence, Søren Gade, following a scandal over leaks from his ministry, sparked a major government reshuffle which was carried out today. When Lars Løkke Rasmussen quite suddenly took over as Prime Minister and leader of the Liberal Party when Anders Fogh Rasmussen was appointed Secretary General of NATO last April, he made only a handful of changes to the cabinet, something which has later been mentioned as one of the possible reasons for the troubles his premiership has faced. Only last week Ritt Bjerregaard, the former politician from the Social Democrat Party, called for Løkke to “get your own cabinet”.
The most significant change made to the government today is the elevation of Lene Espersen, the leader of the Conservative Party, from Minister of Economy and Business to Minister of Foreign Affairs, replacing Per Stig Møller, who has held that position since 2001 and is now demoted to Minister of Culture. This probably signals the Conservatives wanting to take a firmer grip on foreign policy. While Fogh was Prime Minister, Møller was often overruled by and Fogh almost ran his own Foreign Ministry next to the actual Foreign Minister. Løkke’s position is far from being as strong as Fogh’s and the leader of the coalition party taking over the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is another sign of this.
Despite coming under much criticism lately, Claus Hjort Frederiksen stays on as Minister of Finance, thus being one of only four cabinet ministers who remain in their old places. Seven ministers leave the government, while the rest are moved around between the ministries.
Following the reshuffle the government is made up of ten men and nine women, making it the most gender equal cabinet in Danish history.
A list of the changes to the cabinet: http://politiken.dk/politik/politikfakta/article908247.ece