There you go: Today turns out to be Lars Løkke Rasmussen’s second anniversary as Danish prime minister. Two years can be a long time in politics, or it can be a fairly short time. One obvious problem is that the effects of policy decisions often only really show after a longer period of time.
I think it is fair to say that Løkke entered office being underestimated which was a bit curious given that he was the operative behind the Fogh government’s health care and public administration reforms. Obviously this was somebody who on a practical level would be able to get things done.
On the other hand, Løkke was not one of Fogh’s close confidantes and, given his position in government, this made it hard to see what exactly where he stood. He also faced the task of establishing his authority in the Liberal Party in general and the Liberal parliamentary group in particular. The latter appears to have been a rough ride.
The most spectacular failure of the Løkke premiership was the COP15 summit which descended into a complete mess. Lack of experience was one explanation, internal conflicts between the Prime Minister’s Office and the Climate and Energy Ministry another. As it is, this was something Løkke inherited from Anders Fogh, but he lacked the strategy to deal with the issues.
On the domestic arena, the May 2010 crisis agreement and the proposal to abolish the Early Retirement Benefit show some of Løkke’s political weaknesses: He acts by stealth and surprise rather than carefully preparing the (relevant sections of the) public for his reform ideas. This may to some degree work on the parliamentary level but it also creates problems when it comes to maintaining support for the Liberal Party.