Leader Danish Christian Democrats resigns, abortion divides party


Northern Europe


Party leader of the Danish Christian Democrats, Isabella Arendt. Photo Facebook, Isabella Arendt

The party leader of the Danish Christian Democrats, Isabella Arendt, resigned from her position last week. She also terminated her party membership. There is division in the party over how the Kristendemokaterne (KD) line should be on the issue of abortion.

"I am passionate about making Denmark greener, freer and more neighbourly. I no longer experience support, and therefore I take the consequence and have made this decision, Arendt wrote last week in an email to news agency Ritzau, about which Danish TV 2 News and Norwegian daily Dagen write.

However, a discussion within the KD about the abortion stance also lies at the basis of Arendt's departure, Dagen writes based on an article in the Danish newspaper Kristeligt Dagblad.

Last year, KD tried to land a compromise in a so-called 2030 plan, which, on the one hand, says that women's right to abortion must not be compromised or limited, but on the other hand, that the party will work to reduce the number of abortions. Arendt was on the restrictive side, while several party veterans, such as the only KD's MP, Jens Rohde, are fighting for a more missionary approach to the right to abortion. Rohde announced his political retirement earlier this month, as CNE.news reported.


Two deputy chairmen confirm to Kristeligt Dagblad that there has been a "fierce battle" over the party line in the abortion debate over the past six months. Externally, the conflict has been between Arendt and Rohde. Still, on the home front, too, the waves have been running high, especially after Jens Rohde launched his proposal on 8 March to make abortion a right for all women worldwide, the two declare.

According to them, Arendt had tried to close the debate in a newsletter to all members, stating that the party favours the right to free abortion. However, that wording caused former deputy chairman, Marianne Karlsmose, to threaten to leave her post in the party.

Karlsmose tells Kristeligt Dagbladthat she has "been very firm on the wording of the 2030 plan" on abortion and that that wording did not appear in the newsletter that Isabella Arendt sent out two weeks ago. Arendt did not tell the vice-president about her decision to leave; she had it conveyed by Ritzau. "I do not think that is right," says Karlsmose, now the acting chairwoman.


29-year-old Isabella Arendt entered the political scene during the 2019 election campaign as a substitute for the then party chairman, Stig Grenov, who was hit by stress. She made it so dazzling that she was subsequently proclaimed the "substitute from heaven", writes TV 2 News. The broadcaster concludes that the KD is badly facing the upcoming parliamentary elections, to be held no later than 4 June next year. After the departure of Rohde and Andersen, another party's big vote-getter, Kristian Andersen, has also announced that he will not be on the ballot.

The discussion within the KD over how the party's line should be on the issue of abortion touches the Christian Democrats in the heart. The KD was founded in 1970 under the name Kristeligt Folkeparti (Christian People's Party) to protest the legalisation of abortion and pornography.



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