Denmark. In February, Social Democratic Prime Minister
Poul Nyrup Rasmussen decided to announce new elections until
March 11. The government had then had opinion success thanks
to a prosperous economy, while the largest opposition
parties were plagued by internal conflicts. But the
government was having a hard time in the election campaign,
where the opposition pleaded for freedom of choice in
welfare and where the refugee issues came into focus. The
choice was very smooth. Only when the Greenlandic and
Faroese votes had been counted was it clear that the
government had saved itself with an overweight mandate in
the Parliament, 90–89. The decisive mandate in the Faroe
Islands was won by only 176 votes.
With its xenophobic program, the Danish People's Party
made a successful choice, received 7.4% of the vote and
entered the Folketing with 13 seats.
Countryaah, the election bourgeois prime ministerial candidate, Venstres Uffe Ellemann-Jensen, took the consequences of the
defeat and resigned after 13 years as party leader. He was
followed by his bourgeois colleague Per Stig Møller in the
Conservative People's Party. New party leaders became Anders
Fogh Rasmussen for the Left and Pia Christmas Møller for the
Conservative People's Party.
Nyrup Rasmussen's re-formed government became, as before,
a coalition between the Social Democrats Social Democracy
and the center party Radical Venstre, with support in the
Folketing from the Socialist People's Party and the
Enhedslisten on the left. In April, the Supreme Court set
the stage for a five-year legal battle over the legitimacy
of Danish EU membership. Then Prime Minister Nyrup Rasmussen
was acquitted of the accusation of having violated the
Danish constitution when he signed the former EU
constitution, the Maastricht Treaty.
In May, Denmark conducted a referendum on the new
constitution, the Amsterdam Treaty. The Yes side then won by
55.1% against 44.9%. After the election, Nyrup Rasmussen
promised the no-voters to work with heavy emphasis on
bureaucracy and arrogance in the EU system.
In the autumn, a survey showed that the Danes were ready
for the first time to accept a single European currency.
However, the timing of the referendum on Danish membership
in EMU is not yet determined.
About half a million LO employees went on strike in the
spring in protest of the holiday and pension regulations
offered by employers in a two-year pay agreement. Much of
the country's transport and distribution systems stopped,
and schools and a large part of the health care system
closed. Danmarks Nationalbank raised the interest rate to
defend a declining krone exchange rate, which forced the
government to intervene and, after ten days, end the
conflict through compulsory legislation.
Unemployment continued to decline during the year. But
the economic crisis in Norway, with its falling krone
exchange rate, also created Danish concerns as Denmark
exports for about SEK 20 billion annually. to Norway.