Monday, 22 July 2024 02:02

Immigration tops agenda as Denmark votes in parliamentary elections

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Voting began Thursday in Denmark's general election with opinion polls suggesting a neck-and-neck race between Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt's left-leaning bloc and the centre-right opposition.

Thorning-Schmidt, who is seeking a second term, has led a left-leaning minority government of her Social Democrats and the junior Social Liberals.

In 2011, she became Denmark's first female prime minister and has ruled with the backing of several smaller left-leaning parties.

She campaigned on the claim that her government pulled the country out of economic doldrums characterized by low growth, low demand among its main European trading partners, falling competitiveness and a domestic housing bubble.

The main challenger is Lars Lokke Rasmussen of the opposition centre-right Liberals and prime minister from 2009-11, who is aiming for a comeback.

While the campaigns initially focused on the economy, unemployment benefits and the size of the public sector, in the final stages, there was a greater emphasis on immigration and integration policy.

Some 4.1 million people are eligible to vote to decide the composition of the 179-seat parliament, which includes four seats decided by the voters in the semi-autonomous Greenland and Faroe Islands.

Turnout was 87.7 per cent in the 2011 elections.

Polls close at 8 pm (1800 GMT).


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