Lars Løkke Rasmussen

Last updated
Lars Løkke Rasmussen
Lars Lokke Rasmussen - 2018 (MUS6631) (cropped).jpg
Rasmussen in 2018
25th Prime Minister of Denmark
Assumed office
28 June 2015
Monarch Margrethe II
Preceded by Helle Thorning-Schmidt
In office
5 April 2009 3 October 2011
Monarch Margrethe II
Deputy Lene Espersen
Lars Barfoed
Preceded by Anders Fogh Rasmussen
Succeeded by Helle Thorning-Schmidt
Leader of the Opposition
In office
3 October 2011 28 June 2015
Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt
Preceded by Helle Thorning-Schmidt
Succeeded by Mette Frederiksen
Leader of Venstre
Assumed office
17 May 2009
Preceded by Anders Fogh Rasmussen
Minister of Finance
In office
23 November 2007 7 April 2009
Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen
Preceded by Thor Pedersen
Succeeded by Claus Hjort Frederiksen
Minister of the Interior and Health
In office
27 November 2001 23 November 2007
Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen
Preceded by Karen Jespersen (Interior)
Arne Rolighed (Health)
Succeeded by Karen Jespersen (Social Welfare)
Jakob Axel Nielsen (Health and Prevention)
Personal details
Born (1964-05-15) 15 May 1964 (age 54)
Vejle, Denmark
Political party Venstre
Spouse(s) Sólrun Jákupsdóttir
Children3
Alma mater University of Copenhagen
Website Official website

Lars Løkke Rasmussen RSKmd (Danish:  [lɑːs ˈløɡə ˈʁɑsmusn̩] ; born 15 May 1964) is a Danish politician serving as the 25th and current Prime Minister of Denmark since 2015, previously holding the position from 2009 to 2011, and as Leader of the centre-right liberal Venstre party since 2009.

Order of the Dannebrog award in Denmark

The Order of the Dannebrog is a Danish order of chivalry instituted in 1671 by Christian V. Until 1808, membership in the order was limited to fifty members of noble or royal rank who formed a single class known as White Knights to distinguish them from the Blue Knights who were members of the Order of the Elephant. In 1808, the Order was reformed and divided into four classes. The Grand Commander class is reserved to persons of princely origin. It is only awarded to royalty with close family ties with the Danish Royal House. The statute of the Order was amended in 1951 by a Royal Ordinance so that both men and women could be members of the Order.

Prime Minister of Denmark position

The Prime Minister of Denmark is the head of government in the Kingdom of Denmark. Before the creation of the modern office, Denmark did not initially have a head of government separate from its head of state, namely the Monarch, in whom the executive authority was vested. The Constitution of 1849 established a constitutional monarchy by limiting the powers of the Monarch and creating the office of premierminister. The inaugural holder of the office was Adam Wilhelm Moltke.

Centre-right politics or center-right politics, also referred to as moderate-right politics, are politics that lean to the right of the left–right political spectrum, but are closer to the centre than other right-wing politics. From the 1780s to the 1880s, there was a shift in the Western world of social class structure and the economy, moving away from the nobility and mercantilism, as well as moving towards the bourgeoisie and capitalism. This general economic shift towards capitalism affected centre-right movements such as the British Conservative Party, that responded by becoming supportive of capitalism.

Contents

Rasmussen has been a member of the Folketing since 21 September 1994. He also served as County Mayor of Frederiksborg County from 1998 to 2001. Subsequently, he was the Interior and Health Minister from 27 November 2001 to 23 November 2007 as part of Anders Fogh Rasmussen's first and second cabinets, and then Minister of Finance from 23 November 2007 to April 2009 as part of Anders Fogh Rasmussen's third cabinet. On 5 April 2009, he succeeded Anders Fogh Rasmussen as Prime Minister following the latter's appointment as Secretary General of NATO.

Folketing Parliament of Denmark

The Folketing, also known as the Danish Parliament in English, is the unicameral national parliament (legislature) of Denmark. Established in 1849, until 1953 the Folketing was the lower house of a bicameral parliament, called the Rigsdag; the upper house was Landstinget. It meets in Christiansborg Palace, on the islet of Slotsholmen in central Copenhagen.

The Counties of Denmark were former subdivisions of metropolitan Denmark, used primarily for administrative regions, with each county having its own council with substantial powers. Originally there had been twenty-four counties, but the number was reduced to roughly fourteen in 1970 - the number fluctuated slightly over the next three decades. In 2006 there were thirteen traditional counties as well as three municipalities with county status. On January 1, 2007, the counties were abolished and replaced by five larger regions which unlike the counties are not municipalities.

Frederiksborg County county of Denmark

Frederiksborg Amt is a former county in the north of the island of Zealand in eastern Denmark. Effective January 1, 2007, the county was abolished and merged into Region Hovedstaden.

In the 2011 general election, the government lost its parliamentary majority and Rasmussen tendered the government's resignation to Queen Margrethe II. He was succeeded by Helle Thorning-Schmidt of the Social Democrats on 3 October 2011. In the 2015 general election, the right-wing parties regained a majority in the Folketing. Rasmussen again became Prime Minister and formed his second cabinet in the same month. This cabinet was made up exclusively of Venstre members, but in November of 2016 he was pressured to also include members of Liberal Alliance and Conservative People's Party, forming his third cabinet.

Margrethe II of Denmark Queen of Denmark

Margrethe II is the Queen of Denmark, as well as the supreme authority of the Church of Denmark and Commander-in-Chief of the Danish Defence. Born into the House of Glücksburg, a royal house with origins in Northern Germany, she was the eldest child of Frederick IX of Denmark and Ingrid of Sweden. She succeeded her father upon his death on 14 January 1972, having become heir presumptive to her father in 1953, when a constitutional amendment allowed women to inherit the throne. On her accession, Margrethe became the first female monarch of Denmark since Margrethe I, ruler of the Scandinavian kingdoms in 1375–1412 during the Kalmar Union. In 1967, she married Henri de Laborde de Monpezat, with whom she has two sons: Crown Prince Frederik and Prince Joachim. She has been on the Danish throne for 47 years, becoming the second-longest-reigning Danish monarch after her ancestor Christian IV.

Helle Thorning-Schmidt Danish politician, former Danish Prime Minister

Helle Thorning-Schmidt is a retired Danish politician who served as the 26th Prime Minister of Denmark from 2011 to 2015, and Leader of the Social Democrats from 2005 to 2015. She is the first woman to hold each post. Following defeat in 2015, she announced that she would step down as both Danish Prime Minister and Social Democratic party leader. Ending her political career in April 2016, she is the chief executive of the NGO Save the Children.

The Social Democrats, officially Social Democracy, is a social-democratic political party in Denmark. It was the major coalition partner in government from the 2011 parliamentary election, with then-party leader Helle Thorning-Schmidt as Prime Minister. After the 2015 parliamentary election, the party is no longer in government, though it regained the position as the largest party in the Danish parliament, the Folketing, with 47 of 179 seats. Helle Thorning-Schmidt withdrew as party leader on the night of the election as a direct consequence of the loss of government control, and she was succeeded on 28 June 2015 by the former vice leader, Mette Frederiksen.

Early life

Lars Løkke Rasmussen was born in Vejle to Jeppe Rasmussen and Lise Løkke Rasmussen (née Løkke). His last name is Rasmussen, while Løkke, his mother's maiden name, is his middle name. Unless his full name is used, he is correctly referred to only by the name of Rasmussen, but his middle name is used frequently by the media and in informal usage to distinguish him from Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, his two immediate predecessors as Prime Minister (to whom he is not related). [1]

Vejle Town in Southern Denmark, Denmark

Vejle is a town in Denmark, in the southeast of the Jutland Peninsula at the head of Vejle Fjord, where the Vejle River and Grejs River and their valleys converge. It is the site of the councils of Vejle Municipality (kommune) and the Region of Southern Denmark. The city has a population of 54,862, making it the ninth largest city in Denmark. Vejle Municipality has a population of 111,743. The city is part of the Triangle Region, which includes the neighbouring cities of Kolding and Fredericia.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen Former Prime Minister of Denmark and NATO secretary general

Anders Fogh Rasmussen is a Danish politician who was the 24th Prime Minister of Denmark from November 2001 to April 2009 and the 12th Secretary General of NATO from August 2009 to October 2014. He is now CEO of political consultancy Rasmussen Global and a senior advisor at The Boston Consulting Group's Copenhagen office.

Poul Nyrup Rasmussen Danish politician and former Prime Minister of Denmark

Poul Oluf Nyrup Rasmussen, was Prime Minister of Denmark from 25 January 1993 to 27 November 2001 and President of the Party of European Socialists (PES) from 2004 to 2011. He was the leader of the governing Social Democrats from 1992 to 2002. He was a member of the European Parliament from 2004 to 2009.

He graduated from high school in 1983, and was the president of the youth branch of Venstre from 1986 to 1989. He graduated with a law degree (cand. jur) from the University of Copenhagen in 1992. From 1990 to 1995 he worked as a self-employed consultant.

The Danish Gymnasium offers a 3-year general academically-oriented upper secondary programme which builds on the 9th-10th form of the Folkeskole and leads to the upper secondary school exit examination. This qualifies a student for admission to higher education Preparatory, subject to the special entrance regulations applying to the individual higher education programmes. Colloquially gymnasium refers to what is formally called STX.

Venstres Ungdom is the youth wing of the Danish Liberal Party Venstre.

University of Copenhagen public research university in Copenhagen, Denmark

The University of Copenhagen (UCPH) is the oldest university and research institution in Denmark. Founded in 1479 as a studium generale, it is the second oldest institution for higher education in Scandinavia after Uppsala University (1477). The university has 23,473 undergraduate students, 17,398 postgraduate students, 2,968 doctoral students and over 9,000 employees. The university has four campuses located in and around Copenhagen, with the headquarters located in central Copenhagen. Most courses are taught in Danish; however, many courses are also offered in English and a few in German. The university has several thousands of foreign students, about half of whom come from Nordic countries.

Lars Løkke Rasmussen is married to Sólrun Løkke Rasmussen (née Sólrun Jákupsdóttir). Together they have three children. [2]

Sólrun Jákupsdóttir Løkke Rasmussen is the wife of the Prime Minister of Denmark, Lars Løkke Rasmussen.

Political career

Venstres Ungdom chairmanship and Afghanistan mission

Lars Løkke Rasmussen served as chairman of the youth branch of Venstre from 1986 to 1989. One of his initiatives was to establish an alternative to Operation Dagsværk — an annual one day fundraising campaign by high school students collecting money for third world countries — since Operation Dagsværk at the time was spearheaded by members of the Danish Communist Youth. [3] Rasmussen's campaign was supported by the party youth branch, and raised 600,000 DKK which were spent on school equipment [3] in Soviet occupied Afghanistan. Lars Løkke Rasmussen led a Danish delegation to Afghanistan delivering the collected funds, and a photograph taken by photographer Jørn Stjerneklar shows him and two other delegation members disguised as Afghans. Another photo shows him holding an AK-47, while standing together with three Mujahideen. [4] The photos have generated a lot of media attention in Denmark, after the Danish participation in the war in Afghanistan and especially as Rasmussen moved up the rankings at Venstre.

County Mayor and deputy chairman of Venstre

Rasmussen was elected deputy chairman of Venstre in 1998, at the same time as Anders Fogh Rasmussen assumed the position as party leader after Uffe Ellemann-Jensen. In 1998, he was elected as county mayor of Frederiksborg County, a position he occupied until 2001, when he joined the first Fogh Rasmussen cabinet.

Minister of the Interior and Health

Lars Løkke Rasmussen served as Interior and Health Minister between 2001 and 2007 until he was appointed Minister of Finance in 2007. He was responsible for negotiating a 2002 agreement between Venstre, the Conservatives, the Social Democrats and the Danish People's Party giving patients in public hospitals the right to select a private hospital, provided that the public hospital had been unable to treat the patient within two months. In 2007, this time limit was lowered to one month. Since 2002, the government has awarded extra funds earmarked at reducing the waiting list at National Health Service hospitals, a grant sometimes referred to by the media as Løkkeposen [5] (A pun on 'lykkepose' the Danish word for a goodie bag). He also represented the government during negotiations regarding a reform of the system by which richer municipalities transfer part of their tax incomes to poorer municipalities.

Municipal reform of 2007

As Minister of the Interior and Health, Lars Løkke Rasmussen spearheaded the municipal reform that reduced Denmark's 271 municipalities to 98, and abolished the 14 counties and replaced them with five regions. [6]

Minister of Finance

After then Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen won his second reelection in 2007 he created his third cabinet in which Lars Løkke Rasmussen was appointed Minister of Finance. This was seen as a clear indicator that Rasmussen was next in line to follow Fogh as leader of Venstre and Prime Minister, when Fogh would leave Danish politics. [7] As Finance Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen led the negotiations concerning funds to banks hit by the global financial crisis.

Tax reform of 2009

In February 2009, Lars Løkke Rasmussen was the chief negotiator in the political agreement behind a major tax reform, implementing the government's ambition of reducing income tax and increasing taxes on pollution. [8] The reform was, according to Lars Løkke Rasmussen, the biggest reduction of the marginal tax rate since the introduction of the income tax in 1903. [9] The opposition accused it of being historically skewed in favouring those with high-income jobs and giving very little to those with low-income jobs. [9]

Prime Minister of Denmark

Rasmussen outside Amalienborg Palace immediately after his appointment as Prime Minister by Queen Margrethe. Lars Lokke Rasmussen foran Amalienborg 7 april 2009 (edit).JPG
Rasmussen outside Amalienborg Palace immediately after his appointment as Prime Minister by Queen Margrethe.

On 4 April 2009, NATO decided that Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen would replace Jaap de Hoop Scheffer as Secretary General of NATO. [10] On the same day, Anders Fogh Rasmussen declared that he would resign as Prime Minister on 5 April 2009. As deputy of the largest party in the government, Lars Løkke Rasmussen thus took over the post as Prime Minister of Denmark. [11] An opinion poll released on the day of Lars Løkke Rasmussen's takeover revealed that Danes believed that he only beat Helle Thorning-Schmidt as the person best suited for bringing Denmark through the financial crisis, and that Thorning-Schmidt would have been better suited to combatting unemployment, reducing hospital waiting lists, securing the welfare society of the future, and representing Denmark internationally. [12] On 7 April 2009, Lars Løkke Rasmussen announced the new set of ministers in his Cabinet. [13]

COP15 - December 2009

Lars Løkke Rasmussen has been sharply criticized from many sides for his handling of the COP15 leadership.

At the first meeting of the summit high level section, led by Lars Løkke Rasmussen, a number of countries protested the Danish handling of the negotiations. ”We cannot continue to talk about procedure. We must move forward. The World awaits us”, said Lars Løkke Rasmussen responding to criticism of the Danish led negotiations coming from several countries who regarded them as undemocratic. [14]

Many developing countries viewed this statement as arrogant. Procedure is a major element in UN negotiations. [15] ”This is not about procedure. This is about content. We have stated that the results in Copenhagen must come in two texts. One cannot simply present a text pulled from the clouds”, replied the Chinese delegate in the auditorium. [14]

Stanislaus Lumumba Di-Aping, chief negotiator for the Developing Nations' organisation G77, cross examined what exactly Rasmussen meant when stating that the chairmen of the negotiating groups should be "people whom we trust". [15] Criticism of the Office of the Prime Minister was supported by China, India and Brazil. The last had been regarded as an ally by the Danish delegation. [15]

The international press, too, has been severe in its criticism of the Prime Minister and the Prime Minister's Office. The BBC's climate correspondent stated: "According to all my sources, the Prime Minister's Office is on the verge of a melt-down. They have no modus operandi, or the diplomatic experience needed to plan one in advance. Ed Miliband, the UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, was quoted for stating that "Denmark is doing a reasonable job". [15]

Budget cuts

Lars Lokke Rasmussen and Russian President Dmitrij Medvedev in the Prime Minister's office at Christiansborg in Copenhagen, Denmark, 28 April 2010. Dmitry Medvedev in Denmark 28 April 2010-4.jpeg
Lars Løkke Rasmussen and Russian President Dmitrij Medvedev in the Prime Minister's office at Christiansborg in Copenhagen, Denmark, 28 April 2010.

In May 2010 Rasmussen's government announced major spending cuts and measures designed to increase revenues, notably to unemployment insurance (cut from a maximum of four years to two), foreign aid (cut from 0.83% of GDP to 0.76%), cuts to child support payments, and miscellaneous tax reforms designed to increase revenues. [16] The cuts were designed to save the government 24 billion DKK.

2011 election

Rasmussen led Venstre in the September 2011 parliamentary election. He sought to renew the mandate of the rightwing coalition that had been in power since 2001. Although his party gained a seat, the opposition parties combined obtained more seats than the parties supporting the incumbent government. On 16 September 2011, Rasmussen tendered the government's resignation to Queen Margrethe. He remained in office as head of a caretaker government until his successor, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, was appointed on 3 October 2011.

2015 election and current government

Rasmussen with U.S. President Donald Trump, Washington, D.C., 30 March 2017 Donald Trump and Lars Lokke Rasmussen in the Oval Office, March 30, 2017.jpg
Rasmussen with U.S. President Donald Trump, Washington, D.C., 30 March 2017

Rasmussen led Venstre in the June 2015 general election. His Blue Bloc won a tight election in which his party came third overall, winning Rasmussen the ability to form a government. [17]

All members of Lars Løkke Rasmussen's second Cabinet, composed solely of members of Venstre, were sworn in on 28 June 2015 in the Danish Parliament. [18] As of July 2015, his Cabinet consists of seventeen ministers.

On November 28, 2016 Rasmussen presented Lars Løkke Rasmussen III Cabinet, composed of members of Venstre, Conservative People's Party and Liberal Alliance.

On the 31st of May 2018 it was announced that Denmark would be banning full-face veils. [19]

Controversies

Rasmussen has on several occasions been accused of spending tax payer money on himself and his family. In the spring of 2008, he was accused by the media, essentially the Danish tabloid Ekstra Bladet of having charged his official accounts with considerable expenses he should have paid himself, e.g. restaurants, cigarettes, taxis, and hotels, both as county mayor [20] and as minister. All of this has been well documented, according to several independent media sources, although all charges were dropped and there was never a court trial. [21] [22] It was something that was according to the rules of the party Venstre. [23] [24] In May 2007, Rasmussen was again accused by Ekstra Bladet of having his ministry pay for a hotel room in Copenhagen when he privately attended a Paul McCartney concert in Horsens in 2004. [25] [26] [27] After the many severe scandals surrounding Rasmussen were brought to the attention of the public, Venstre has suffered in the polls. [28] [29] [30] [31] [32] [33] [34] [35] [36]

In 2013, the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) was criticized by two member countries for its financial management: Norway withheld $10 million in donations, citing excessive spending on flights and food by GGGI former Council Chairman Lars Løkke Rasmussen, and both Norway and Denmark demanded an Audit of the organization's finances before renewing support for 2014. Rasmussen was, as the chairman, accused of being greedy, while the other members of GGGI were not accused. [37]

The wife of Rasmussen was about to get fired in 2018, but he showed up with his bodyguards at her workplace, and intimidated the manager of his wife and prevented the firing. The case received widespread coverage in the Danish media. [38] [39]

Honours

National honours

Foreign honours

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References

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  2. "Lars Løkke Rasmussen forsømte familien - BILLED-BLADET". billedbladet.dk. Retrieved 29 March 2018.
  3. 1 2 "I Afghanistan med Lars Løkke Rasmussen" (in Danish). Politiken. 2009-02-25. Archived from the original on 2009-02-26. Retrieved 2009-04-07.
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  39. "...Og prisen for de største nosser går til den kvindelige rektor på Zahles skole..."
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Political offices
Preceded by
Kirsten Ebbensgaard
County Mayor of Frederiksborg
1998–2001
Succeeded by
Jørgen Christensen
Preceded by
Karen Jespersen
as Minister of the Interior
Minister of the Interior and Health
2001–2007
Succeeded by
Karen Jespersen
as Minister of Social Welfare
Preceded by
Arne Rolighed
as Minister of Health
Succeeded by
Jakob Axel Nielsen
as Minister of Health and Prevention
Preceded by
Thor Pedersen
Minister of Finance
2007–2009
Succeeded by
Claus Hjort Frederiksen
Preceded by
Anders Fogh Rasmussen
Prime Minister of Denmark
2009–2011
Succeeded by
Helle Thorning-Schmidt
Preceded by
Helle Thorning-Schmidt
Leader of the Opposition
2011–2015
Succeeded by
Mette Frederiksen
Prime Minister of Denmark
2015–present
Incumbent
Party political offices
Preceded by
Anders Fogh Rasmussen
Leader of Venstre
2009–present
Incumbent