SF meltdown continues after DONG deal

Health Minister Astrid Krag moves to Socialdemokraterne as government tries to regroup

Astrid Krag, the health minister, has announced that she will leave troubled Socialistisk Folkeparti (SF) and change to Socialdemokraterne (S) after SF left the government coalition yesterday.

SF leader Annette Vilhelmsen announced yesterday that she would remove the party from the government and resign as party head over internal disagreement over the partial sale of DONG Energy to Goldman Sachs.

Krag said that S is the party that best suits her political beliefs.

“I have been a SF member for more than half my life, but when I look at the party discussions that resulted in SF’s head pulling us out of the government, things are clear,” Krag wrote on her Facebook page. “There is no backing for the kind of left-orientated I was elected for and as a result I will leave SF today.”

READ MORE: SF leaves government, Vilhelmsen steps down

Keeping her job?
It is still unclear whether the move will allow Krag to continue on as the health minister in the new two-party government coalition consisting of Socialdemokraterne and Radikale (R).

Krag was at one point close to becoming the head of SF back in 2012 when Villy Søvndal stepped down from the position, but she lost the battle to head the party to Vilhelmsen, who she has since loyally supported.

Pernille Vigsø Bagge, an SF spokesperson, argued that Krag’s decision to move parties wasn’t surprising considering her political philosophy.

“[Krag] has always worked for SF remaining closely tied to the social-democratic ideology,” Bagge told DR Nyheder. “And if you are a social democrat, then you best belong in S. Astrid has always been a hard worker for SF and we wish her all the luck in her new party.”

Reports today suggested that PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt (S), will choose the six ministerial replacements sometime next week and that S and R will meet today to discuss possible constellations.

READ MORE: Finance committee approves Goldman Sachs deal

SF regrouping next week
Meanwhile, SF are also looking to make a number of replacements in the wake of the newly-approved DONG – Goldman Sachs agreement, including the party head position that was vacated by Vilhelmsen’s departure. The party's number two, Mette Touborg, also announced today that she will not re-seek her position. 

But, like the government, SF won’t rush things. Bagge pointed to the leaving transport minister, Pia Olsen Dyhr, and the leaving tax minister, Jonas Dahl, as the leading candidates to take over leadership of the party, although Dyhr looks to be slightly ahead.

“We will take stock next week – we just need a timeout,” Bagge told DR Nyheder. “It could be Jonas or Pia. They are both experienced and know the party well. But Pia has extensive negotiation experience as minister, which SF needs in its new position as a support party. Pia is the best option, I’d say.”

Dahl only managed to enjoy his position as the tax minister for 49 days, which is the fifth-shortest tenure in Danish ministerial history. Mimi Jakobsen (Central Demokrats) holds the record, lasting just nine days back in 1987.