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New minister for ecclesiastical affairs 

New cabinet and new minister for ecclesiastical affairs

Foto: Liberal Alliance

Mette Bock is the new minister for ecclesiastical affairs. Photo: Liberal Alliance. 

After Sunday’s announcement he had shored up his minority government by bringing in both the libertarian-leaning Liberal Alliance (LA) and the Conservative People's Party, PM Lars Løkke Rasmussen presented his new cabinet.

In the cabinet reshuffle, five ministerial posts were added to the coalition government. Of all the 22 ministers, 13 are from the Liberal Party, six from the Liberal Alliance and three from the Conservatives.

The government platform paper announced by Rasmussen states that Denmark is a Christian country and that the Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Denmark has a special status in Danish society. Furthermore, it informs that the government has an ambition to create a more flexible structure for the church councils in order to reduce the work load and increase self-organization.

Mette Bock from Liberal Alliance is appointed as minister for ecclesiastical affairs. Bock has already stated that she wants to regulate the Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Denmark’s (ELCD) state subsidies so that the state will only finance the maintenance of churchyards and matters of cultural heritage, whereas the church shall be responsible for financing pastors’ salaries and church services. In addition, Liberal Alliance is vocal in claiming that civil registration no longer be administrated by the church, but rather by local municipalities.

Danish People’s Party’s spokesman on ecclesiastical affairs, Christian Langballe, has commented on Bock’s statements, saying "It is a silly proposal and signifies a commencement of a separation between church and state, which we cannot support."

Rasmussen's centre-right Venstre party has held only 34 out of 179 seats in parliament since June 2015. Under the new coalition, the government remains with 53 seats in the minority and will depend on the support of Danish People's Party (DF) in parliament to pass legislation.