Haarder to say goodbye: Two former culture ministers and two former Radikale leaders to call it a day

Bertel Haarder, Morten Østergaard and Marianne Jelved are all retiring from politics at the next general election

The former Venstre minister, Bertel Haarder, 77, has confirmed this will be his last term in Parliament, reports Altinget.

Haarder first became an MP  in 1975, and he has been in charge of eight different ministries – most recently as culture minister until 2016.

In total, he has been an MP for 41 years, and he is Denmark’s longest serving cabinet minister of the 20th and 21st centuries.

In and out of cabinet since 1982
He first became a minister in 1982 serving under Poul Schlüter, the Konservative PM.

His other ministries have included health, education, and integration and immigration.

He also served as an MEP from 1994 to 2001 and was vice-chair of the European Parliament from 1997 to 1999.

Still very busy
“I honestly think I have completed my military service,” he told Altinget.

“But I intend to drive at full-force as long as I am in the Folketing, among other things as chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee.”

He is also currently the president of the Nordic Council and chair of the Royal Theatre. 

One of Parliament’s biggest characters
An undoubted character, he once memorably exploded with rage at the inane questions of a journalist, as he had been called away from his home where he had been enjoying Risalamande – the Danish equivalent of rice pudding.

“Journalist gets just desserts” was how CPH POST reported the matter back in December 2010.

Another memorable moment came when he won the top prize on the celebrity edition of ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire’ in 2005. Unfortunately, it is only a million kroner, which he donated to charity.

He is also an accomplished croquet player and rapper, which he once demonstrated live on DR.

Denmark’s most senior MP (only just!) to stand down
Former Radikale leader Marianne Jelved, 77, has confirmed this is her last term in Parliament. After being elected as an MP in 1987, she led the party from 1990 to 2007, but resigned in the same year that two of her MPs (Naser Khader and Anders Samuelsen) broke away to form the Liberal Alliance. She served as a minister from 1993 to 2001, and then more recently as culture minister from 2012 to 2015 under Helle Thorning-Schmidt’s
 government. At the last election, she was the oldest candidate to retain a seat. 

No comeback for disgraced Radikale leader Morten Østergaard
Former Radikale leader Morten Østergaard, 44, who stepped down last year following a number of #MeToo allegations, will not be running for office at the next general election. He has been on sick leave since October 12. “It is with tearful eyes and melancholy that I write these words, because it is an incredible chapter in my life story, which is now drawing to a close, to make room for a new one,” he wrote on Facebook. He was first elected to Parliament in 2005. Before his political career, he worked as a marketing manager.

Former Copenhagen Mayor Frank Jensen not out of the woods yet
The law firm Kromann Reumert has concluded its investigation into 12 alleged incidents in which former Copenhagen Mayor Frank Jensen may have inappropriately harassed women between January 2010 and October 2020. Seven of the incidents took place on a single day: an infamous julefrokost in 2011, where it was reported at the time how the married mayor grabbed a number of women inappropriately. Kromann Reumert concludes in six of the cases there is necessary evidence to prove that a “woman was exposed to unwanted physical or verbal contact on the part of Frank Jensen”. One woman recalled how a greeting was “the absolute wettest kiss on the cheek that she had ever had”. The investigation was initiated by the Copenhagen Citizens’ Representation in October. City Hall’s finance committee will discuss the consequences of the lawyer’s investigation next week.

Morten Messerschmidt to discover his fate in late June
The justice minister, Nick Hækkerup, yesterday confirmed that the SØIK investigation into Dansk Folkeparti deputy chair Morten Messerschmidt’s alleged misuse of EU funds while he was an MEP will be concluded by the end of June. Its findings will determine whether he will face prosecution. The suspicion has been ongoing for almost six years, as the EU’s anti-fraud unit, OLAF, started investigating a possible misuse of EU money by the European party Meld, which Messerschmidt chaired, and its associated fund Feld, back in 2015. OLFA concluded its investigation in October 2019 and passed the matter onto SØIK, Denmark’s public prosecutor for special economic and international crime.