June 26, 2015 / 2:51 PM / in 2 years

Danish Liberals to try to form minority government alone

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Denmark’s Liberals Party, which won an election last week with other centre-right parties but has been unable to form a government with them, will establish a minority cabinet alone, the party’s leader, Lars Lokke Rasmussen, said on Friday.

Despite the victory of the centre-right bloc, the Liberals had their worst election in a quarter of a century. A government consisting of the party alone would have just 34 seats out of 179 in parliament.

They will be banking on support from other centre-right parties vote by vote in parliament, even though they have not managed to reach a compromise on a government program.

Rasmussen was speaking after a last-minute meeting with parties on the right, including the eurosceptic Danish People’s Party (DF), a former fringe party which ended up with more seats in parliament than the Liberals, and two smaller parties.

“After the discussion tonight, it’s my judgment that it will be possible to form a Liberal government under my guidance which will enjoy support in parliament,” Rasmussen told reporters on Friday evening.

He said he expected to inform Queen Margrethe of the conclusion of talks on Saturday, a formality in the Kingdom of Denmark. Parliament would still need to approve the government.

Such a small cabinet would leave Denmark in an unusual situation. Only one government, in 1973, had fewer members in parliament, with 22 seats. That cabinet lasted 14 months.

Sources previously said DF, right-wing in most aspects in its policies, had refused to back down on its demand that state spending be increased, especially on healthcare. That runs counter to the policies of the Liberals and others.

DF’s other demands have included curbs on immigration and a referendum on whether Denmark should stay in the European Union. The once-fringe party has surged in recent years to become the second-largest party in parliament and the largest on the right.

Writing by Sabina Zawadzki; Editing by Larry King

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