Anti-immigration party head Pia Kjaersgaard has announced that she is to resign from the Danish People’s Party.
A DPP spokesman confirmed that the 65-year-old was to resign from her position as the figurehead of the party next month but would run in the upcoming election in the hope of retaining her seat in parliament. Economic-focused Kristian Thulesen Dahl has been designated as Kjaersgaard’s replacement, according to a report from the Berlingske news agency.
Experts say Kjaersgaard’s 17 years in the DPP saw anti-immigration and Europe-shunning policies grow from small fringe popularity to a major force in the Scandinavian country. She first joined the Danish Parliament in 1984, gained leverage through providing support for several centre-right regimes and worked to force her tough immigration policies into law.
Meanwhile, former Danish PM Lars Løkke Rasmussen has given praise for Kjaersgaard’s fiercely independent run. He said, “Not everyone predicted that Dansk Folkeparti would survive for long after Pia Kjaersgaard broke away from the Fremskridtsparti. But as a result of Pia’s integrity, unfailing spirit and ceaseless effort, DF is now an unavoidable element in Danish politics. She has delivered an impressive chairmanship,” the Copenhagen Post reports.
However, others have given a different point of view, including health minister Astrid Krag of the Socialistiske Folkeparti, who said via her Facebook page, “I won’t miss Pia. She poisoned the immigration debate for 10 years and pushed false politics in which she presented herself as the protector of the little man, while also granting enormous tax breaks to CEOs.”