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Had enormous political influence, and helped re-brand Denmark as a country of xenophobia
Pia Kjærsgaard, the powerful and charismatic leader of the Danish People’s Party (DPP – Dansk Folkeparti), has decided to step down after seventeen years at the top, report media.
She is one of the most recognised Danish politicians, probably the most hated, or loved, person in Denmark.
Analysts say that her and the DPP’s stringent anti-immigrant tone during the ten years of the previous government helped to strengthen Denmark’s image as a xenophobic country, and foreign reporters have called her ‘the thorn in Denmark’s rose garden’.
She has nominated deputy leader Kristian Thulesen Dahl as her successor.
Her departure had been carefully planned since the New Year but only her inner circle was kept aware of the decision, she said to b.dk:
»I’ve experienced many occasions where a party leader has been forced out or made to quit after a poor election campaign so I was determined that I wouldn’t suffer the same fate«.
She stressed that voters haven’t seen the last of her, to media Tuesday night.
The 65-year-old politician will continue in a new role as DPP’s ‘values spokesperson’ and intends to run again at the next election.
After attacks by mobs, and death threats, she was one of the first Danish politicians forced to live under constant police protection.
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