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1 July 2015
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Danish intrigue

Viewers of the increasingly popular Danish dramas such as Borgen, The Killing and The Bridge will be well used to plot twists and political surprises that influence daily life in the kingdom.
Well fiction became reality a few weeks ago in the country with the shock election result and the resignation of the prime minster that has thrown the future path of the country into uncertainty. 

In the elections held on 18 June, voters ousted their centre-left government in a clear swing to the right that unexpectedly elevated the Danish People's Party (DPP), an anti-immigrant, anti-European Union party that had been on the margins of the country's politics.

Polls had predicted a close race, but as results came in, the far-right secured the 90 seats needed to form a government in the 179-seat parliament.

Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt stepped down as leader of the Social Democratic Party and now the DPP has attempted to form a new government with the conservative Liberal Party, with its leader, Lars Lokke Rasmussen, becoming prime minister.

However at the end of June there was a further twist when Lokke Rasmussen was forced to form a minority government with just 34 seats after failing to strike a coalition deal with the DPP. This leaves the future dubious as historically only one government, in 1973, had fewer members in parliament - and that lasted for just 14 months.

What does all this mean for infrastructure and PPPs? While the country has never been overly known for its use of the model, it has kept up a steady stream of projects over the last few years including hospital and energy projects.

One sector that has long championed PPPs and supported government efforts to adopt the model has been the country's pension funds. Unlike some countries - notably the UK - Denmark's pension funds are large enough to handle the administrative work of investing in infrastructure. Many have seen the investments being made by neighbouring Dutch pension funds, not to mention those of Canadian funds, and are eager to replicate that in their own market.

However with a newly formed and possibly unstable government, the pension funds' cause - along with perhaps the issues of infrastructure and PPPs in general - is unlikely to be a high priority for the government. The Liberal Party's plans for infrastructure had not featured prominently in the election campaign, and even if they had the fact it holds such a small minority means any policies it might want to introduce could easily be blocked by a relatively small number of opponents.

Let's hope the PPPs and projects the country has already set out will continue. Denmark may not have the continent's largest pipeline of deals, but it has been able to churn out a steady programme over recent years. So far this year, there have been tenders launched for wind farm and waste PPPs, although both came before the election. Just a week after the poll, the Municipality of Odder chose a winner for its schools PPP.

But for those looking for Nordic exposure, the political intrigue that made the country the hottest property in television does not make it a hot investment destination. Perhaps looking elsewhere is the best move until things become a little clearer.

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Danish intrigue

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Viewers of the increasingly popular Danish dramas such as Borgen, The Killing and The Bridge will be well used to plot twists and political surprises that influence daily life in the kingdom.

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