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Danish prime minister calls June 18 parliamentary election

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Danish Social Democratic Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt on Wednesday announced that parliamentary elections will be held on June 18.

She said the minority government, whose term ends in September, would not resign before the election but that it was time for voters to have their say on its policies.

“It’s the right time to ask Danes whether we should keep the course or if we want experiments by (the opposition),” Thorning-Schmidt told a news conference.

The opposition center-right bloc, led by former Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen, has a four-percentage-point lead in recent opinion polls. However, Thorning-Schmidt is ahead of Loekke Rasmussen in other polls when it comes to credibility.

A major point of disagreement between the blocs is public spending.

Thorning-Schmidt, who points to 18 months of economic growth, has pledged to raise welfare spending, while the opposition maintains that improvements can be achieved without expanding the public sector.

Thorning-Schmidt — the Scandinavian country’s first female prime minister — has been in office since the previous election in 2011. Her minority coalition has been able to govern with the support of former coalition member, the Social People’s Party, and another small left-leaning group.

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