May 2, 2018 / 10:52 AM / 3 months ago

Danish PM appoints reality TV entrepreneur in cabinet reshuffle

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Denmark’s prime minister reshuffled his cabinet on Wednesday, including bringing in a reality television star, after two ministers from his party announced they would step down.

Denmark’s Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen speaks during news conference in front of Amalienborg Castle after the constitutional visit to the Danish Queen when he introduced newly appointed Minister of Education and Research Tommy Ahlers, Minister of Environment Jakob Ellemann-Jensen and Minister of Fisheries, Equal Rights and Nordic Cooperation Eva Kjer Hansen, in Copenhagen, Denmark, May 2, 2018. Ritzau Scanpix/Mads Claus Rasmussen/via REUTERS

In a surprise move, Lars Lokke Rasmussen said the new minister for education and science would be Tommy Ahlers, an entrepreneur with little political experience but known from the Danish version of “Shark Tank” in which contestants pitch business ideas.

His Liberal Party, which holds just 34 of 179 seats in parliament, has headed a three-party government with the Conservatives and the Liberal Alliance since late 2016. The next election is due no later than June 2019.

The reshuffle came after minister for education and science Soren Pind stepped down, saying he lacked motivation after many years in politics. Environment minister Esben Lunde Larsen also announced his resignation on Tuesday without giving a reason.

Jakob Ellemann-Jensen was appointed minister of environment and food, while Eva Kjer Hansen was appointed minister for fisheries, gender equality and Nordic cooperation.

Rasmussen became prime minister for the second time in 2015 despite seeing his Liberal Party end up as only the third biggest party in an election that year, behind the Social Democrats and DF.

His minority government often relies on populist EU-hostile right-wing Danish People’s Party (DF) to pass laws.

Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen; Editing by Catherine Evans and Alison Williams

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