Danish conservatives threaten to topple government

A small Danish party threatened Wednesday to withdraw its support for the government and force new elections if Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen fails to sack a cabinet minister in a row over agricultural reforms.

AFP| Updated: Feb 24, 2016, 18:35 PM IST

Copenhagen: A small Danish party threatened Wednesday to withdraw its support for the government and force new elections if Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen fails to sack a cabinet minister in a row over agricultural reforms.

The Conservative People`s Party, which has just six seats in parliament but whose support is crucial to the government`s slim majority, said it has lost confidence in Environment Minister Eva Kjer Hansen.

"I have said (to Rasmussen) that I support the government and wish it to stay but Lokke has a minister that we no longer trust," Conservative leader Soren Pape Poulsen told public broadcaster DR in remarks widely seen as a threat to the seven-month-old government. 

The Conservatives have accused Hansen of giving them wrong information about a proposed package of agricultural regulations, warning that they could have serious consequences for the environment.

It`s "an explosive crisis and nobody knows what is going to happen. In the end it could end with a surprise election. It`s a battle of nerves," leading political analyst Thomas Larsen told AFP.
He said there were three likely scenarios.

Either Rasmussen supports Hansen, which could lead to the government falling and new elections being called, or Poulsen backs down, or Hansen resigns, which could resolve the problem for the government, without Rasmussen being forced to back down. 

Rasmussen has only been in office since the June 2015 election and his centre-right coalition has just 90 seats in the 179-member parliament.