COPENHAGEN - Denmark's centre-left Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen on Wednesday called a general election for Nov. 1 and said she would seek to form a broad coalition reaching across the political aisle at a time of international uncertainty.
Denmark is currently the focal point of a global political crisis after two pipelines carrying gas from Russia to Europe via the Baltic Sea last week suffered damage in what world leaders have called an act of sabotage.
"We want a broad government with parties on both sides of the political centre line," the prime minister, who currently heads a one-party minority government with her Social Democratic Party, said in a speech.
"With the difficult times we live in and the hardships the world is facing ... the time has come to test a new form of government".
She was forced by parliamentary ally the Social Liberal Party to call the election or face a vote of no confidence.
Frederiksen, 44, became Denmark's youngest-ever prime minister in 2019, after promising to improve welfare services that had been eroded by liberal economic reforms since the beginning of the century.
After what could be viewed as the most chaotic term to befall a Danish government in decades, the election will serve as a test of the government's handling of COVID and soaring inflation in recent months.
Recent opinion polls show a near dead heat between Frederiksen's Social Democratic minority government and left-wing parties supporting it, and a right-wing bloc led by the either the Conservative or the Liberal party.
Frederiksen was generally been applauded for steering Denmark through the coronavirus pandemic with relatively few health and economic consequences, receiving massive popular backing for her swift lockdown of society in the early stages of the pandemic in 2020.
But her decision later that year to cull all mink in the country over fears of spreading a mutated coronavirus variant drew criticism when it emerged there had been no legal basis to call for healthy mink to be culled.
Frederiksen eventually avoided any legal consequences, but polls have since showed a fading support and the scandal also shortened her tenure when the Social Liberals withdrew their backing.
(Reporting by Stine Jacobsen and Nikolaj Skydsgaard; editing by John Stonestreet, Terje Solsvik and Toby Chopra)