COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Danes go to the polls on June 18 for an election in which the centre-left government of Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt will meet a stiff challenge from the centre-right opposition, led by the Liberals Party.
Denmark is famous for consensual politics with broad agreement on how the country should progress but politicians have clashed over whether social spending should be increased or capped and on how to control immigration.
And the rising popularity of a rightwing party that seeks a British-style referendum on EU membership may crack a pro-EU consensus of the political elite.
Below are some of the key policy stance of the four largest parties.
SOCIAL DEMOCRATS (Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt)
* Current ruling party, centre-left politics.
* Polls give them about 25 percent vs 24.8 percent in last election.
* Wants to increase social spending including on health, childcare and environment by 39 billion Danish crowns ($5.7 billion) by 2020.
* On asylum, only temporary residence permits should be given to people who have been personally persecuted.
SOCIAL LIBERALS (Economy Minister Morten Ostegaard)
* Junior partner in government, centre-right politics.
* Only party to propose further cuts in unemployment benefits as a way of encouraging people to work.
* Aims to have 3 million people, out of a total population of 5.6 million, employed at all times. Raise pension age to 68 years from 67 today by 2025.
* Switch to green energy alternatives and get rid of oil, coal and gas. Targets phasing out of coal within 10 years.
* Wants to increase spending in mental health, education and poverty.
THE LIBERAL PARTY (Former Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen)
* Main opposition, centre-right politics.
* Polls give them around 20.5 percent vs 26.7 percent in last election.
* Wants to set an upper limit per individuals on welfare payment to encourage employment,
* Wants to cap spending on the public sector, effectively reducing spending by falling behind inflation and thus gradually reducing the tax burden.
* Work permits to be given to people who already have found jobs in Denmark; people from countries with similar cultures and development should have easy access to work.
DANISH PEOPLE’S PARTY (Kristian Thulesen Dahl)
* Increasingly popular, won most votes in EU Parliament elections last year.
* Rightwing on political issues, leftwing on the economy, has supported the Liberals when they have governed but never itself been in coalition.
* Polls give them around 19 percent vs 12.3 percent in last election.
* Wants to follow the UK and renegotiate relationship with the EU and then put it to a Yes-No referendum.
* Refugees should only get temporary resident permit and leave Denmark as soon as circumstances allow them to go back to own country. Wants to limit or delay access to benefits for both non-EU and EU migrants.
* Despite Denmark’s membership of the passport-free Schengen zone covering most of Europe, wants to reestablish land border control between Denmark and Germany to reduce what is says is increased crime and smuggling.
Reporting by Copenhagen bureau; Editing by Dominic Evans