February 24, 2016 / 1:38 PM / 3 years ago

Danish ruling party to offer new talks in move to avoid crisis

Prime Minister of Denmark Lars Lokke Rasmussen attends the United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. headquarters in New York, September 25, 2015. REUTERS/Darren Ornitz

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Denmark’s Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said on Wednesday he has invited coalitions partners to new talks in a move he hopes will solve a crisis that is threatening the minority government after only eight months in office.

After a meeting with coalition partners he said he will spend a couple of days with leaders of the three supporting parties to discuss additional agreements to planned agricultural reforms that have triggered the political crisis.

Rasmussen’s centre-right Liberals hold only 34 seats in the 179-seat parliament, but they are supported by the Conservatives Party with six seats, the Danish People’s Party with 37 and the Liberal Alliance with 13 — giving them a majority of one.

Rasmussen’s environment and agriculture minister has been accused of misleading parliament over the environmental impact of the agricultural reforms.

The accusations have been led by the Conservatives, who have already been at loggerheads with the government over future tax plans.

“We have decided to spend the couple of days after parliament on Thursday has approved the agricultural legislation package to agree about a additional agreement,” Rasmussen said after the meeting.

Despite being in government, the Liberals are the third largest party in parliament after the former-ruling Social Democrats and the anti-immigrant eurosceptic Danish People’s Party, known as DF.

It was thought DF would cause the most problems for Rasmussen’s tenure but despite its right-wing leaning, its economic policies promoting more spending and support for the elderly are at loggerheads with the Conservatives’ fiscally-tight ideals and the dispute between these two coalition partners is now what is causing headaches for the government.

After additional meetings Rasmussen could announce the conflict resolved, seek the resignation of the environment minister or call for a new election if he feels he will no longer retain the Conservatives’ support.

Reporting by Annabella Nielsen and Nikolaj Skydsgaard, writing by Sabina Zawadzki, editing by Angus MacSwan and Dominic Evans

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