Social Democratic Party leader Helle Thorning Schmidt is interviewed after the vote in Copenhagen, Denmark, early Sept. 16, 2011. Danes on Thursday voted the socialist opposition coalition into power, ushering in the country`s first woman prime minister. With 99.7 percent of the total votes counted, the center-left Red Bloc headed by Social Democratic Party Chairman Helle Thorning-Schmidt won 92 of all 179 seats in the Danish parliament. (Xinhua/Peng Zhongmin)
COPENHAGEN, Sept. 16 (Xinhua) -- Denmark`s center-left "Red Bloc" headed by Helle Thorning-Schmidt narrowly won Thursday`s general elections after 10 years in opposition, paving the way for the country`s first female head of government.
With all votes counted, the center-left gained 50.3 percent of the total votes and 92 seats of the country`s 179-seat parliament, which means the center-right coalition, led by Danish Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen, lost its decade-long hold on power.
The country has witnessed a consolidation of bloc politics over the past decade, with government and opposition parties sharply divided over many issues of national importance.
The two largest opposition parties, the Social Democratic Party and Socialist People`s Party, form the Red Bloc. The far-left Red-Green Alliance has also been drawn into the same coalition, clearing the way for a center-left victory.
The Liberal and Conservative parties, which form the country`s incumbent minority-coalition government, as well as their parliamentary allies, comprise the so-called Blue Bloc.
The incumbent coalition government of Liberal and Conservative parties and their center-right allies garnered 49.7 percent of the vote, giving them 87 seats.
The opposition`s victory means that Thorning-Schmidt, 44, chairman of the Social Democrats, is set to be the country`s next prime minister, and the first woman to hold that post.
Rasmussen acknowledged his defeat late on Thursday, saying he would go to Denmark`s Queen Margrethe II at 11 a.m. Friday local time to officially hand in his government`s resignation.
But Rasmussen`s Liberals party has captured 26.7 percent of the vote and won 47 seats in the 179-member Folketing, or Danish parliament, remaining the single-largest party, while Thorning-Schmidt`s Social Democratic Party got 44 seats, making it Denmark`s second-largest party.
The Social Liberals` backing of Thorning-Schmidt as prime minister has been the determinant factor for the Red Bloc to win the 2011 election. It has increased its seats from 9 to 17, a remarkable win.
The centrist and market liberal Social Liberals focus on economic growth, education and immigration reform and ending political bipartisanship. Its historic position as a centrist swing party has meant it recently backed the Liberal-Conservative government on welfare reform policies aimed at cutting the national budget deficit and cutting a generous publicly funded early retirement plan.
The Red-Green Alliance, the biggest winner of the 2011 election, has tripled its seats from 4 to 12. It wants to roll back the current immigration policy, limit the influence of the EU on Danish politics, and strongly supports mainstreaming of climate issues.
The Conservatives, the key partner of the incumbent coalition government, is the biggest loser of this year`s election. The party has won only 4.9 percent of the vote and thereby 8 parliamentary seats, losing 10 seats. Voters widely regard it as a party that caters to elites and the well-off.
Denmark is a multi-party, representative democracy. Danes still need to cast their votes to elect 179 members to the Folketing, the country`s unicameral parliament.
Under Danish law, 175 of all parliamentarians will be elected in mainland Denmark, while two each will be elected from Greenland and the Faroe Islands, which are autonomous territories of Denmark.