, COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Jun 16 – Like the protagonist of Denmark’s hit TV show “Borgen”, Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt is a pragmatic centrist who learned her political lines the hard way.
Since calling elections last month, the Social Democratic leader has succeeded in clawing back lost support for her centre-left coalition ahead of Thursday’s parliamentary election, which pundits describe as too tough to call.
Best known abroad for taking a “selfie” with British Prime Minister David Cameron and US President Barack Obama at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service in December 2013, the tall, elegant 48-year-old blonde became Denmark’s first female prime minister in 2011.
She ousted a right-wing coalition that had steered the country into a housing boom and bust, triggering years of sluggish growth.
Lacking the charisma of some of her rivals, Thorning-Schmidt saw her support plummet as she implemented corporate tax cuts and scaled back parts of a massive welfare state in a country which has both Europe’s highest taxes and the world’s highest levels of household debt.