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Meet Mette Frederiksen, Denmark’s new history-making Prime Minister

Posted by
Moya Lothian-McLean
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The leader of Denmark’s Social Democrats is now the youngest ever Prime Minister of the country.

After three weeks of political negotiations, Denmark has a new leader – and she’s making history.

Mette Frederiksen, who heads up the left-leaning Social Democrats, is Denmark’s youngest ever Prime Minister at 41 years old. As part of a ‘red bloc’ alliance with four other centre-left parties, she’s formed a majority government built on a platform that includes a promised end to austerity measures and a plan to cut Denmark’s carbon emissions by 70% over the next 10 years.

“It is with great pleasure I can announce that after three weeks of negotiations, we have a majority to form a new government,” said Frederiksen, addressing media on 25 June to announce her premiership.

“We did not know that this was going to work out when we started negotiations,” she continued. “These are four parties with very different stories and attitudes. We have achieved our goal now.” 

Frederiksen’s political career started young – before her 10th birthday, her father claims.

“She has been preoccupied with political matters since she was six/seven years old,” Flemming Frederiksen told Danish news agency Ritzau, prior to her victory.

“I have never doubted that Mette, if she wanted to, could go all the way.”

She became an official member of the Social Democrats’ youth branch at 15 and by 24 was appointed to parliament as Employment and Justice Minister. 

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Frederiksen’s win makes Denmark the third Nordic nation – alongside Finland and Sweden – to opt for a left government in 2019, after several years of hardline right-wing governance that saw Denmark stop accepting refugees according to the UN quota system and initiate plans to place asylum seekers on an uninhabited island.

Frederiksen herself joins a far too small number of female leaders in Europe, alongside the likes of German premier Angela Merkel and Kersti Kaljulaid, president of Estonia. Ten women currently hold the top jobs in European states, out of a possible 44 countries.

However, the new Danish PM has her share of critics, including those who’ve opposed her tough position on immigration and support of the controversial burqa ban introduced in 2018 and labelled ‘discriminatory’ by human rights groups.

For now, we can but wait and see what she plans to bring to the table.

Images: Getty

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Moya Lothian-McLean

Moya Lothian-McLean is a freelance writer with an excessive amount of opinions. She tweets @moya_lm.

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