By Vittorio Hernandez

Copenhagen, Denmark

The Social Democratic Party in Denmark won the national elections held on Friday, making party leader Helle Thorning-Schmidt the first woman prime minister.

Thorning-Schmidt's party garnered 88 seats in the 179-seat parliament, narrowly beating the party of incumbent Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen, which got 86 seats. Voter turnout was 87.7 percent.

Thorning-Schmidt won on a platform of tax hikes and higher public spending. She also vowed to recall tough immigration partners proposed by the current coalition.

The results of the parliamentary election ends the rightwing 10-year hold on power made up of the coalition of Liberals and Conservatives and support from the Danish People's Party.

It is the second attempt for Thorning-Schmidt to head Denmark. She is expected to form a government, which would include two other center-left parties and may result in a fragile coalition.

Rasmussen acknowledged defeat and said he would turn over the reins of government to Denmark's first female prime minister Friday night.

Although immigration has been the center of the outgoing coalition's legislative agenda that resulted in reimposition of border controls despite Denmark being a Schengen state, the weak Danish economy was the key to the SDP's poll victory.

During Rasmussen's term, the country's budget surplus transformed into deficits, expected to hit 4.6 percent of Denmark's gross domestic product in 2012. Nine local banks were taken over by the state since the start of the global financial crisis in 2008.

The new prime minister is married to Stephen Kinnock, son of British Labour Party politicians Neil and Glenys Kinnock.


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Denmark Elects First Woman Prime Minister | Global Viewpoint