Lars Løkke Rasmussen is the incumbent Prime Minister of Denmark. He was previously a Leader of the Opposition from 2011 to 2015. Prior to holding party leadership, Rasmussen was serving his first term as a Danish Prime Minister. He also held the positions of Minister of Finance (2007 – 2009) and Minister of the Interior and Health (2001 – 2007).
Early Life and Education
On 15 May 1964, Lars Løkke Rasmussen was born to father Jeppe and Lisa Lokke Rasmussen. Growing up in Veije, Denmark, Rasmussen finished high school at the age of 19 and decided to got a university. He completed his university years at the University of Copenhagen in 1992. Having completed a law degree, Rasmussen started working as a consultant.
Rasmussen is married to Sólrun Jákupsdóttir Løkke Rasmussen who is a Danish politician. The couple has three children. Born in the Faroe Islands, Solrun Rasmussen previously held the office as a member of the Gribskov Municipality Council.
Lars Lokke Rasmussen got into politics since a very early age. By the time he turned 22, he already held the office of Chairman of the Venstre’s youth branch. Among all his early works, the fundraising program was quite significant as it made a global impact. Under Rasmussen’s leadership, Venstre raised around 600k Danish Krone and invested it in supplying school equipment for Afghan students. Rasmussen himself visited Afghanistan to deliver the raised funds.
After serving Venstre’s youth branch until the age of 25, Rasmussen worked as a law consultant from 1995 to 1996. Then, in 1998, he was elected to become the deputy chairman of Venstre. The same year, he was also appointed to the post of county mayor in Frederiksborg County. Within two years, Rasmussen had a hierarchical promotion to Minister of the Interior and Health. Under this capacity, he played a crucial role in mediating political agreements between different national parties on health issues and government spending.
On 23 November 2007, Rasmussen entered another significant political post of Finance Minister. Holding the responsibilities of nation’s finances, he helped solve 2008 global finance crisis by negotiating any bailout or help funds. Similarly, Rasmussen considers reduction of income tax and increment in pollution tax as his biggest achievements while at the office, although the oppositions argued that his tax policies led to low-income people being worse off.
In 2009, Anders Fogh Rasmussen resigned from the office of Prime Minister to become the Secretary General of NATO. Hence, it was Lars Lokke Rasmussen’s turn to become the ultimate Danish power. As a Danish PM, Rasmussen was controversially involved in COP 15. He and his administration faced serious criticisms from national and international grounds for mishandling such a noble cause. As a response to criticisms, Lars reportedly said, “We cannot continue to talk about procedure. We must move forward. The World awaits us.” The statement was interpreted as being arrogant.
During the first premiership, Rasmussen declared austerity which largely affected child support, foreign aid and unemployment insurance. Although the austerity was supposed to save around 24 billion Danish Krone, it was pervasively criticized. Hence, his party suffered a lack of support in the 2011 elections and lost its governmental power.
In 2015 general election, Rasmussen’s party again came to power under a coalition government. He assumed the office on 28 June 2015 and composed a cabinet consisting more than 17 ministers.
Rasmussen has frequently been accused of corruption – use of national funds for personal matters. As per the reports, all of his expenses in the restaurants, hotels, taxis and cigars were shouldered over to the national treasury. Likewise, he also used national funds to pay for a hotel while attending a concert by Paul McCartney.
Trump and Rasmussen
US President Trump and Danish Prime Minister Rasmussen are two prominent leaders representing their states in the NATO. So, each of their stances on international cooperation directly affects the other. Hence, Trump’s opposing views on NATO aren’t digestible to PM Rasmussen. After a diplomatic call with the US counterpart, Rasmussen proposed that the Danish government should increase military spending.
Nevertheless, Lokke Rasmussen did make a congratulatory call after November 8 victory.