September 16, 2011- Denmark made history today by electing its first woman as prime minister. The Social Democratic Party won the elections on Friday breaking the 10-year stronghold of the right wing Danish People’s Party.
Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Social Democratic Party leader, thus becomes the country’s first female prime minister. In the elections, the SDP was able to grab 88 seats of the parliament’s total of 179 just beating out incumbent Lars Lokke Rasmussen’s party that ended up winning 86. Over 87% of the voters turned out to cast their votes.
Thorning-Schmidt ran on a campaign of higher spending by the government and tax increases. She said she would repeal the tough immigration practices that had been proposed by the current government.
This is her second attempt at leading Denmark and a coalition of two parties from the center-left is expected to be formed to make up the new government. The standing prime minister, Rasmussen, said he acknowledged defeat and would hand over power to Thorning-Schmidt on Friday night.
Even though immigration was one of the centers of the incumbent coalition’s agenda, the key to the victory for the Social Democratic Party was the continued weak economy in the country. During the reign of Rasmussen as Prime Minister, the budget’s surpluses became deficits. Since 2008, nine banks have been taken over by the government due to the global economic crisis.