New NATO chief to step down as Danish leader

5th April 2009, Comments 0 comments

Rasmussen, who has headed up a centre-right coalition government since 2001, was on Saturday named the next NATO secretary general to replace Jaap de Hoop Scheffer when he steps down at the end of July.

Copenhagen -- Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen is expected to tender his resignation on Sunday after his appointment as NATO's next secretary general, Denmark's Ritzau news agency reported.

Rasmussen, who has headed up a centre-right coalition government since 2001, was on Saturday named the next NATO secretary general to replace Jaap de Hoop Scheffer when he steps down at the end of July.

Speaking in Strasbourg after his appointment was confirmed, the Danish leader said Finance Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen -- no relation -- would take over as Denmark's prime minister.

"It is with great pleasure that I pass the baton to the third straight Rasmussen," he said.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen's predecessor was Poul Nyrup Rasmussen.

"Lars Loekke Rasmussen has over the years built up solid political experience and support ... I think he will be a great prime minister," the outgoing leader said.

The Ritzau news agency said the prime minister would formally tender his resignation to Denmark's Queen Margrethe on Sunday.

Under Denmark's parliamentary electoral system, in which parties rather than specific people are elected, the constitution does not require new elections to be called if the prime minister resigns.

Only a vote of no confidence or the resignation of the entire government automatically prompts snap polls, Henning Koch, a constitutional law professor at the University of Copenhagen, told AFP.

AFP/Expatica

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