Danish PM set to win second term in Tuesday's vote

 

Danes are likely to reward their prime minister in Tuesday's election with a second term for cutting taxes and immigration, ignoring a security warning linked to the country's military presence in Iraq.

Iraq and the terror threat have taken backseat in the campaign in which Liberal Prime Minister Mr Anders Fogh Rasmussen and his main opponent, Social Democrat leader Mr Mogens Lykketoft, have tried to outdo each other in making welfare pledges.

Around 2,000 people protested in the Danish capital against the war yesterday, but Mr Rasmussen has vowed to keep the 500 Danish troops in Iraq as long as needed. "The war has not played enough of a role in the election. It's easy to forget the war when you are safe here in Copenhagen," said student Ms Mette Jacobsen.

A Gallup poll published today gave the government and parliamentary allies such as the anti-immigrant Danish People's Party, 96 of the 179 seats in parliament. The Social Democrats look set for their worst result in 30 years.

The Danish Security Intelligence Service said last month the threat of a terror attack was increased compared to previous elections, highlighted by last year's Spanish elections.

Mr Rasmussen's centre-right coalition came to power in a landslide victory in 2001 promising to reduce the flow of migrants into Denmark and to cap the Nordic country's high taxes.

Since then the number of asylum seekers has plummeted by 80 per cent and taxes have been cut. To capitalise on the popularity of such measures, Mr Rasmussen last month called a snap general election, nine months ahead of the deadline.

"He has done a good job, and in a society like ours we can't guard ourselves against terror attacks. The threat doesn't move 50 votes," said a 51-year-old taxi driver.