All of the Socialistisk Folkeparti (SF) ministers assembled in the Tax Ministry for an emergency meeting this morning, during which Villy Søvndal announced his intention to step down as party leader.
Søvndal’s decision comes at a tumultuous time in which he has been criticised for focusing too much on his duties as foreign minister at the expense of policy at home. In particular, he has been condemned within his ranks for agreeing to a tax reform with Venstre and Konservative.
"The time has come to hand over the reins. I have been very pleased to have been able to lead SF during some interesting and exciting years in Danish politics,” Søvndal said in a press release. “Already before the elections, I had decided that I wouldn’t be the party head at the next elections. The question was simply when would be the right time.”
Søvndal was elected SF party chairman in 2005, replacing Holger K. Nielsen, and led SF to several political and electoral victories, including getting SF into the government for the first time.
“In 2005, the SF membership ballot was a good process. I am proud that SF is a party with a solid democratic culture, as it is good for the membership democracy of the party and I look forward to the path before us,” Søvndal said.
Søvndal also announced that he will continue as Denmark’s minister of foreign affairs.
Shortly following Søvndal's announcement, TV2 News reported that Astrid Krag, the health minister, would seek the position as party leader.