Morning Briefing – Tuesday, October 8

The Copenhagen Post’s daily round-up of the front pages and other major Danish news stories

Hefty criticism ahead of inaugural prime minister’s questions
When the prime minister mounts the rostrum in parliament today to field questions in the legislature’s first-ever direct debate between the head of government and the leaders of other political parties, it won’t be warmly welcomed by everyone in parliament. In order to liven up debate, parliament will begin holding a fortnightly prime minister’s question session, in which party leaders can challenge Helle Thorning-Schimdt (Socialdemokraterne) on her position on any topic. But a number of the new debate form’s rules, including barring parties representing Greenland and the Faroe Islands from taking part, and giving the largest opposition party leader twice as much questioning time, have been deemed undemocratic by some. Holding the question session also meant cancelling the PM’s weekly press conference, which was attacked by some journalists. – Politiken

SEE RELATED: Greenland has right to export uranium, say lawyers

ID theft on rise
As many as 50,000 Danes will experience that their identity has been stolen this year, according to a study carried out by the University of Copenhagen. Rigspolitiet statistics show the crime has increased four-fold since 2008. Police said increasing amounts of personal information stored on the internet, lax security practices by retailers and an outdated national ID card have all made it easier for someone to lift another person’s identity. But instead of criminal gangs or malicious computer hackers being behind the crime, the report found that in more than half of cases the culprit was someone the victim knew. And, as irritating as identity theft can be, only about a third of victims had their identity used to fraudulently make purchases or obtain loans. – DR Nyheder

SEE RELATED: Insurer to begin offering ID theft protection

PM’s audit a political job, letter claims
The anonymous letter that temporarily halted the investigation into wrongdoing surrounding the 2010 tax audit of prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, the then leader of the opposition, and her husband was penned by a lawyer in a Jutland law firm that had been hired to fabricate evidence incriminating the couple in tax evasion. The letter, which investigators will make public today unless the sender steps forward, was reportedly ordered by a high-ranking member of political party Venstre, which at the time held the prime minister’s office. The letter also accuses the Tax Ministry of politically-motivated meddling in the audit. – Berlingske

SEE RELATED: Taxgate tribunal narrows suspect list down to three

Retail arms race
Is it only a matter of time before liberalised shopping hours, which came into effect on October 1 last year, lead to widespread changes in the retail landscape. The repeal of laws requiring large retailers to close on Sundays and holidays has meant higher expenses and before long, stores without the financial resources will either need to cut back on their hours or close entirely. “This is a battle of capital. Whoever holds out the longest wins,” said Mogens Bjerre, of the Copenhagen Business School. After the restrictions were dropped, retailers expanded their opening hours by as much as 20 percent, but those hours are typically more expensive to remain open, due to requirements that employees be paid extra on Sundays and holidays. – Erhverv & Økonomi

SEE RELATED: New shopping hours have changed consumer habits

Dansk Folkeparti now second largest
Dansk Folkeparti’s (DF) march to prominence has now seen the right-wing party eclipse Socialdemokraterne, the PM’s party, as the nation’s second most popular, according to an aggregate of political polls taken in September. Last month was the second consecutive month DF surged and the party now stands to gain 19.5 percent of votes, up from 13 percent in August and 10 percent in the 2011 general election. Socialdemokraterne would earn 18.6 percent of votes, were an election to be held today, 2 percentage points off its general election return. In addition to the bounce a change in leadership gave the party in August, the electoral gains were an indication that many disaffected Socialdemokraterne voters had accepted DF as an acceptable alternative, according to Søren Risbjerg Thomsen, of Aarhus University. – Altinget

SEE RELATED: Deal with eurosceptics could stave off EU patent referendum

Editorial Excerpt | Dark money
It is utterly embarrassing that a large majority in parliament are opposed to greater openness about the way lawmakers conduct their business. Changes to the freedom of information act earlier this year is but one example of this. Another is the parties’ unwillingness to inform the public about how parties and individual candidates are funded. [Venstre MP] Søren Pind argues that this is not necessary, since parties can be compared with NGOs. That’s an argument that’s tough to swallow, since a lack of transparency about party financing makes it possible to give donors preferential treatment, opens the door to conflicts of interest and in the end can lead to outright corruption. Until there is full disclosure about the source of every krone of political funding to parties and candidates, doubt will continue stalk lawmakers. – Jyllands-Posten

SEE RELATED: Transparency: better corruption legislation needed

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