The election result was a close one, just like it was predicted. First past the pole, the PM lost to a rival who finished way back in third. It does not come any closer.
DF had a headstart
So the blues have it. A month of the television stations reporting on the migrants drowning in the Med scared the electorate, and in the end, no amount of scare-mongering on immigration regulations could ever close the gap on Dansk Folkeparti, which ended up becoming the largest blue party.
DF promises increased public spending, more liberal unemployment benefits and stronger border controls. It agrees that Denmark could exercise its judicial opt-out through a referendum, but as a condition of co-operation and support for other EU nations, the overall authority should rest with Brussels.
Clearly Lars Løkke Rasmussen has given up any thoughts of forming a majority government with Konservative. With only six mandates at this last election, the true blues will be fearful they’ll completely drown in the blue sea at the next election if they hang onto Venstre’s coat-tails this time around.
Meanwhile, the conflicting issues with Liberal Alliance, which is as liberal as they come and in many ways just as populist as DF, look impossible to reconcile.
Middle ground likely
That leaves Rasmussen alone with his reduced group of parliamentarians. A minority government – yes , but governing not from a position of strength, but from a pragmatic point of view that will involve Rasmussen having to stretch out across the middle ground.
There he will find Mette Frederiksen, the soon to be confirmed leader of Socialdemokraterne who is surely destined to become this country’s second female PM. With no red party contenders to challenge her, she can afford to be responsible, while Rasmussen cannot afford not to be.
What Helle Thorning-Schmidt will do, we cannot say – she deserves a good holiday after a well-performed campaign. Next time the EU needs a foreign minister, we’re puting our money on her.