Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, author of the libertarian tract From Welfare State to Minimal State, was reelected to a third straight term as Denmark's prime minister, which will be the longest consecutive run of a center-right government in modern Danish history. It appears that Naser Khader, the Syrian-born leader of the New Alliance party, who bravely defended the rights of Jyllands-Posten to offend radical Muslims, will likely support the ruling coalition, which includes Rasmussen's Liberal Party (Venstre), the Conservatives and the anti-immigration Danish People's Party. It's a somewhat disappointing showing for Khader's new party—the New Alliance managed five seats in parliament, significantly lower than previous poll predictions—who campaigned a pro-immigration, tax-cutting platform (Khader proposed lowering the top income tax from 63 percent to 40 percent). In the first election since the "cartoon crisis," Pia Kjærsgaard's anti-immigration, pro-welfare state Danish People's Party increased their representation in Parliament by a single seat, garnering 13.8 percent of the vote, the party's highest total since its 1998 electoral debut.
The Economist leads today with a story on Denmark, playing up the immigration and Danish People's Party angle (headline: "Fear of Foreigners"), but conceded that "in the end…Danes are more concerned about welfare than immigrants, although the two issues are often mixed in voters' minds." But Europe as a whole, The Economist argues, is experiencing a wave of xenophobia unprecedented in the post-war period:
Where xenophobic parties are not flourishing it is sometimes because centre-right parties-and even some others-have taken up their themes. Nicolas Sarkozy, who won the presidency of France earlier in the year, imitated the policies of the National Front of Jean-Marie Le Pen over law-and-order and immigration. He also promised to oppose Turkish membership of the EU. A block on further EU enlargement may be one consequence Europe's worries about foreigners.
Back in Denmark, Mr Rasmussen's razor-thin majority may be more or less dependent on the DPP. Denmark has a consensus-based tradition, so he may have the option of fishing for votes among a left-wing party instead, and from Mr Khader's small party. In any case Mr Rasmussen may be thinking of moving on soon, perhaps to a European post. Given the prevailing anxiety about foreigners in the midst, he would find familiar themes of xenophobia to occupy his time, whether in Brussels or in Copenhagen.