The Socialist People’s Party, one of the parties in the Danish coalition government, has withdrawn its participation after massive criticism of the sale of shares in the partly state-owned energy company Dong to US firm Goldman Sachs.
The Socialist People’s Party (SF) yesterday morning announced that in light of the recent uproar it has decided to pull out of the government. Ms Thorning-Schmidt’s Social Democrat party and its remaining partner, the Social Liberal party, now control just 61 of the 179 seats in the Danish parliament with 18 months until the next election.
During this term of government the SF has had “to swallow quite a few camels” to maintain its involvement in the government but now the party’s hinterland has indicated that it cannot support the sale of shares in Dong to Goldman Sachs. This resistance to the sale is strongly shared by three quarters of the Danish public which is suspicious of the sale because Goldman Sachs is seen to be seeking out tax havens by using an investment vehicle based in Luxembourg and owned by Cayman Islands and Delaware shareholders. Many also think the investment group is only interested in “fast money”.
Also of public concern are the unusual veto rights granted to Goldman Sachs which require Dong to consult the US investment bank if it wants to change chief executive or finance director, make big acquisitions, or sell new shares.
But Denmark’s government negotiated the deal with Goldman Sachs, passed by the parliament on Thursday, despite strong the public opposition. Two days ago, up to 3,000 people demonstrated in the square in front of parliament in Copenhagen despite the bitter cold.
The controversial Goldman deal has motivated nearly 200,000 people in a country of just 5 million to sign an online petition against the arrangement, one of the biggest displays of popular disagreement in Denmark for years.
The strategy and politics of the current Danish government has left many voters bewildered, since it is a left wing government that since its inauguration has been accused of leading a right wing politic.