Crisis meeting in the Danish party after metoo accusations – VG

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WITHDRAWAL: Morten Østergaard resigned as leader of the Radical Left on 8 October. Photo: Martin Sylvest / Ritzau Scanpix

A Metoo campaigner who himself admitted sexual harassment, and accusations that the management is closing in on harassment cases, has led to a crackdown in the Danish government’s most important support party.

On Sunday, the leadership of the Radical Left will meet for what is described by many as a crisis meeting in Denmark’s fourth largest party, writes DR.

The meeting is held in the wake of loud discussions about who knew what in the handling of what ex-party leader Morten Østergaard himself has described as sexual abuse committed by himself against several women in the party.

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The party leader withdrew

It aroused great attention when the Danish presenter Sofie Linde on live TV told about cross-border behavior from men in the media industry. Now, six weeks later, there are accusations of sexual harassment that drown out Danish politics.

On October 8, the then leader Morten Østergaard withdrew after accusations of sexual harassment from party colleague and Member of Parliament Lotte Rod.

– I have failed in the case of Lotte Rod. It was my hand she removed from her thigh almost ten years ago. I have given her my unreserved apology, and I have received her forgiveness, Østergaard said at a press conference.

Østergaard has led the Social Liberal Party since 2014. The party is a sister party to the Norwegian party Venstre.

– I can not explain my mistakes. I must instead learn to live with them and the consequences of that, he writes in a Facebook post on October 9.

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First major metoo case

On the same day that Østergaard resigned, deputy leader Sofie Carsten Nielsen took over the management of the party. On the same day, she was asked if she knew of any cases.

“I do not,” Nielsen told the press.

In a Facebook post on Wednesday this week, however, one of the party’s most prominent politicians, Ida Auken, went out and accused Carsten of having done nothing when she was notified of Østergaard’s abusive behavior in 2017.

Nielsen denied knowing the story.

– It makes me angry because we are going to be a party where you can be without being offended, she told the press about Auken’s experience. But she denied having knowledge of other matters than the one concerning Lotte Rod.

The case is referred to as the first major #metoo case in Denmark. The Radical Left has been one of the parties that spoke loudest in the #meetoo showdown. Now it is the party itself that gets to review.

Photo: Philip Davali / Ritzau Scanpix

The government’s most important support party

On Thursday this week, 236 people had resigned from the party, reports NTB. That is far more than in other weeks.

The Radical Left received a support of 8.6 percent in the parliamentary elections 2019. This makes the party the fourth largest in Denmark with 16 representatives in the Folketing.

The party is a support party for the one-party government of Prime Minister Mette Fredriksen. The number of seats makes them one of the government’s most important support parties. With its 6,800 members, the party has also provided a number of green voters for the Social Democratic position.

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