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Poor Carina, only DKK 15,000 a month

In Danish politics, a governing party scores a spectacular own goal as 'poor person' Carina, turns out to be not so poor after all

A bid by the governing Socialist People’s Party member of parliament Özlem Cekic to prove poverty in Denmark, has spectacularly backfired. A claimed poverty stricken 20-year old single mother ‘Carina’ on social benefits, presented by Cekic on a TV stakeout against Liberal Alliance member Joachim B. Olsen, turns out to earn more than a cool DKK 15,000 a month after tax, but said that she finds it ‘embarrassing’ to ask her family for help, report media.

Following a chorus of derision, Özlem Cekic, retracted her claim of ‘Carina’s poverty. But Cekic has created problems for herself, her party and Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, who are already struggling in the polls, according to analysts quoted in and Berlingske.

»A lot of people who go to work, pay tax, and help to support their fellow citizens have had enough. They’re not prepared to work hard every day while listening to someone such as Özlem Cekic spinning lies about poverty,« warns one of them, Thomas Larsen, on

Minister: Need new values

Minister of Social Affairs Karen Hækkerup went on the offensive Tuesday night in an attempt to stop the fall-out from the gaffe. Social benefit recipients should contribute more to society, she said in a surprising turn.

»Many Danes need to seriously re-address their own value system and again take a pride in managing in their own lives« she said. »We have to stop considering society as a ‘smorgasbord’ that we don’t need to contribute to, and that’s a debate I’d like to see high on the social welfare agenda«.

The Red/Green Alliance’s Johanne Schmidt-Nielsen reacted angrily to the Minister’s attack on welfare, saying it’s ‘shameful’ for anyone to claim that the poor and unemployed consider society to be a ‘smorgasbord’.

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