Denmark Elects First Female Prime Minister

Hell Thorning Schmidt

Photo: AP

Today Denmark is heading to the polls for a general election.The country is facing its worst economy since World War 2, and its likely to be a key point in the election.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Current favourite to win is the left wing “red bloc” coalition, led by Helle Thorning-Schmidt.
  • The party is being elected on an anti-austerity, welfare state platform, pledging to spend 21 billion kroner ($3.9 billion) on government services.
  • The results are expected to devastate Denmark’s far right. For years the Danish People’s Party (DPP) had held an important position in parliament, having key votes needed to push through legislation. However, polls suggest that voters are looking to punish anti-immigrant parties, and the red bloc refuses to work with the party.
  • Thorning-Schmidt will be the country’s first female Prime Minister.
  • She has the nickname “Gucci Helle” for her taste in handbags.
  • Thorning-Schmidt has been facing off a last minute controversy about her husband, who is rumoured to be homosexual. The fact that her husband is son of British also-ran politician Neil Kinnock led to the Telegraph to wonder if the “Kinnock curse” would strike down Thorning-Schmidt.
  • Thorning-Schmidt will be the first Danish Prime Minister since 1992 to not have the last name “Rasmussen”. During that time there have been three Prime Ministers with that name, apparently not related.

Polls close at 8pm Denmark time.

UPDATE: Exit polls suggest Thorning-Schmidt has won, reports Euronews.

UPDATE 2: Thorning-Schmidt is confirmed as the winner of the election, though her victory was by a smaller margin than expected, The Guardian reports.

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