Mette Frederiksen

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Mette Frederiksen

Mette Frederiksen - 2010.jpg
Frederiksen in 2009
Prime Minister-designate of Denmark
Assuming office
MonarchMargrethe II
SucceedingLars Løkke Rasmussen
Leader of the Opposition
Assumed office
28 June 2015
MonarchMargrethe II
Prime MinisterLars Løkke Rasmussen
Preceded byLars Løkke Rasmussen
Leader of the Social Democrats
Assumed office
28 June 2015
DeputyFrank Jensen
Mogens Jensen
Preceded byHelle Thorning-Schmidt
Minister of Justice
In office
10 October 2014 – 28 June 2015
Prime MinisterHelle Thorning-Schmidt
Preceded byKaren Hækkerup
Succeeded bySøren Pind
Minister of Employment
In office
3 October 2011 – 10 October 2014
Prime MinisterHelle Thorning-Schmidt
Preceded byInger Støjberg
Succeeded byHenrik Dam Kristensen
Member of the Folketing
Assumed office
20 November 2001
ConstituencyCopenhagen County
Personal details
Born (1977-11-19) 19 November 1977 (age 41)
Aalborg, Denmark
Political partySocial Democrats
Erik Harr
(m. 2003; div. 2014)
EducationAalborg University

Mette Frederiksen (Danish pronunciation: [mɛdə fʁɛðʁɛgsən]; born 19 November 1977) is a Danish politician serving as Leader of the Social Democrats since 2015. A member of the Folketing for Copenhagen County since the 2001 general election, she served under Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt as Minister of Employment from 2011 to 2014 and Minister of Justice from 2014 until she succeeded her as party leader.[1][2]

Following the 2019 general election in which the opposition red bloc of left-wing and centre-left parties (Social Democrats, Social Liberals, Socialist People's Party, Red–Green Alliance, the Faroese Social Democratic Party and Greenland's Inuit Ataqatigiit and Siumut) won a majority of 94 out of 179 seats in the Folketing, she has been commissioned by Queen Margrethe II to lead the negotiations to form a new government. Should she be successful in this regard, Frederiksen would become the youngest Prime Minister in Danish history at the age of 41 as well as the second woman in the role after Helle Thorning-Schmidt.

Early life[edit]

Frederiksen was born in Aalborg. Her father was a typographer while her mother was a teacher.[1] She attended the Aalborghus Gymnasium and studied administration and social science at Aalborg University, graduating in 2000.[1]


Frederiksen worked as a youth consultant for LO, The Danish Confederation of Trade Unions.[1] She was elected as a member of parliament for Copenhagen County in the 2001 general election which saw the Social Democrats losing the first place and placing second for the first time since 1920.[1] After her election, Frederiksen was named as her party's spokesperson for culture, media and gender equality.[1] In 2002, she received the Nina Bang Prize for showing political courage, enthusiasm and impact with social feeling.[3] In addition, she received the Ting Prize in 2012 and has co-authored the books Epostler (2003) and From Fight to Culture (2004). After the 2005 general election loss, Frederiksen became her party's spokesperson for social affairs.[1] Following the election, she also served as the vice-chairperson of the parliamentary group of the Social Democrats.[1] In the 2007 general election which saw the Social Democrats losing two more seats, Frederiksen obtained 27,077 votes, placing her in seventh place in the ranking of the ten Danish politicians with the most votes.[4]

In May 2010, it was revealed that Frederiksen's daughter, along with the children of several other prominent Social Democrat politicians, was being educated at a private school.[5] Along with her colleagues, Frederiksen was accused of hypocrisy by the Danish press as her party had long seen the promotion of public education as a key policy.[5] In 2005, Frederiksen had openly criticised parents who sent their children to private schools.[5] Frederiksen responded to the criticism by saying that her opinion on private education had become more nuanced since her remarks in 2005 and that it would have been hypocritical of her to put her own political career ahead of her daughter's best interest.[6] After the 2011 general election which led to a Social Democrats givernment, Frederiksen served under Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt as Minister of Employment from 2011 to 2014 and Minister of Justice from 2014 until she succeeded her as party leader.[1][2] As Minister of Employment, she headed for reforms of early retirement pensions, flex jobs and the employment system. Likewise, the controversial cash assistance reform meant lower cash benefits for young unemployed and provided cohabiting mutual support, among other things.[citation needed] Under Frederiksen's leadership starting after the 2015 general election in which the Social Democrats returned to first place and gained three seats in the Folketing, the party has moved back to the left on economics while becoming more sceptical of liberal mass immigration.[7][8]

The 2019 general election saw the Social Democrats gaining a further seat and Frederiksen has been commissioned by Queen Margrethe II to lead the negotiations to form a new government.[citation needed]

Political positions[edit]

Frederiksen is a vocal opponent of prostitution. For many years, she has strongly advocated the prohibition of the purchase of sex as in Iceland, Norway and Sweden.[9] In 2002, she opened the debate on the prohibition of prostitution and was behind the 2009 congressional decision that the Social Democrats would "work for a ban on the purchase of sexual services".[10] Frederiksen also became increasingly sceptical of neoliberal mass immigration as she believes it has had negative impacts for much of the population, a more pressing issue since at least 2001 after the 11 September attacks which intensified during the 2015 European migrant crisis. She has argued that both perception of Social Democrats being neoliberal and soft on immigration during the era of neoliberal globalisation likewise contributed to the party's poor electoral performance in the early 21st century. As a result, Frederiksen has adopted anti-immigration positions more commonly associated to the populist right, although from a left-wing point of view, arguing in a recent biography as follows: "For me, it is becoming increasingly clear that the price of unregulated globalisation, mass immigration and the free movement of labour is paid for by the lower classes".[7][8]

Under Frederiksen, the Social Democrats voted in favor of a law allowing Danish authorities to confiscate money, jewellery and other valuable items refugees crossing the border may have,[11] despite harsh condemnation from the United Nations Human Right Council[12] and widespread comparisons between the plan and the treatment of Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe.[13] Similarly, the Social Democrats voted for a law banning wearing of burqas and niqabs while abstaining during a vote on a law on mandatory handshakes irrespective of religious sentiment at citizenship ceremonies and on a plan to house criminal asylum seekers on an island used for researching contagious animal diseases. Frederiksen also backed the right-wing populist Danish People's Party in their paradigm shift push to make repatriation rather than integration the goal of asylum policy. She has called for a cap on non-Western immigrants, expulsion of asylum seekers to a reception centre in North Africa and forced labour for immigrants in exchange for benefits. Labeling economic foreign policies of Europe as "too liberal", Frederiksen has criticised other social democratic parties for losing their voters' trust by failing to prevent globalisation chipping away at labour rights, increasing inequality and exposing them to uncontrolled immigration.[citation needed]

Frederiksen has referred to Islam as a barrier to integration, arguing that some Muslims "do not respect the Danish judicial system", that some Muslim women refuse to work for religious reasons and that Muslim girls are subject to "massive social control".[14] In an interview with Kristeligt Dagblad, Frederiksen called for the "closure of all immigrant centres" and for the "resettlement of immigrants in North Africa". These statements were strongly criticised by Morten Østergaard (secretary of the Danish Social Liberal Party) and Cristina Narbona (president of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party), who accused Frederiksen of xenophobia. However, her statements were praised by Sigmar Gabriel (former leader of the Social Democratic Party of Germany) in an op-ed for Handelsblatt.[15]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Folketing biography" (in Danish). Folketing. Retrieved 2 February 2010.
  2. ^ a b "Portræt: Mette Frederiksen skal finde sin egen vej" [Portrait: Mette Frederiksen has to find her own way]. Politiken (in Danish). 20 June 2015. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
  3. ^ "Nina Bang-prisen til Mette" (in Danish). LO. 12 September 2002.
  4. ^ "Mette Frederiksen slog Mogens Lykketoft" (in Danish). DR. 14 November 2007. Retrieved 15 June 2019.
  5. ^ a b c "Opposition under fire for picking private schools". The Copenhagen Post. 11 May 2010. Retrieved 17 May 2010.
  6. ^ "Mette Frederiksen: Min datter kommer først". Politiken (in Danish). 6 May 2010. Archived from the original on 9 May 2010. Retrieved 19 May 2010.
  7. ^ a b Orange, Richard (11 May 2018). "Mette Frederiksen: the anti-immigration left leader set to win power in Denmark". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 May 2019.
  8. ^ a b O'Leary, Naomi (6 September 2018). "Danish left veering right on immigration". Politico. Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  9. ^ "Socialdemokrater vil forbyde købesex". Berlingske (in Danish). 26 September 2009. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  10. ^ Kristensen, Kim; Kestler, Amalie (20 November 2012). "Købesexforbud har været rødt hjerteblod" (in Danish). Dagbladet Information. Retrieved 15 June 2019.
  11. ^ O'Sullivan, Feargus (26 January 2016). "Denmark Will Strip Refugees of Their Valuables". CityLab. Retrieved 13 June 2019.
  12. ^ Larson, Nina (21 January 2016). "Danish migrant bill blasted at UN". The Local. Retrieved 18 December 2015.
  13. ^ Noack, Rick (26 January 2016). "Denmark wants to seize jewelry and cash from refugees". The Washington Post. Retrieved 18 December 2015.
  14. ^ Orange, Richard (10 June 2018). "Denmark swings right on immigration – and Muslims feel besieged". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 June 2019.
  15. ^ Freda, Gerry (15 June 2019). "Danimarca, la leader socialdemocratica annuncia: "Chiuderemo i centri-profughi". Il Giornale (in Italian). Retrieved 15 June 2019.

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