Eurosceptic EU member Denmark voted in a referendum on Thursday to reject a government proposal to adopt the bloc’s justice rules, amid concerns over handing more power to Brussels. The ‘No’ side received 53.1 percent of votes, while the ‘Yes’ camp garnered 46.9 percent, final results showed. Voter turnout stood at 72 percent. “It is a clear no… I have full respect for the Danes’ decision,” Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said at a press conference. The ‘No’ side was led by the eurosceptic, anti-immigration Danish People’s Party (DPP), which argued that dropping the country’s exemptions on EU justice rules—which it negotiated with Brussels in 1993 as a condition for accepting the Maastricht Treaty—would hand too much power to Brussels and could result in more immigration.
Denmark’s center-right-led opposition won parliamentary elections on Thursday, denying the Social Democrat Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt a second term in office after a campaign dominated by the immigration issue. The opposition Liberal Party leader Lars Lokke Rasmussen, who promised tighter immigration rules and tougher demands on new arrivals in the country, looked set to be the Nordic state’s new leader. With all of the results counted, the opposition bloc had won 52.3% of the vote or 90 seats in the 179 seat parliament. Ms. Thorning-Schmidt and her allies had secured 47.7% support or 85 seats.