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Danish PM clings to power by one seat

DENMARK'S Social Democrat-led government scored the narrowest of victories in Wednesday's general elections - its one-seat majority served up by a few hundred waverers in Greenland, writes Imre Karacs.

Confounding opinion polls which had predicted a win for the opposition led by Uffe Ellemann-Jensen, the outgoing administration's expert handling of the economy was rewarded by the voters, but the extreme right made strong gains.

"I want the present economic policy to continue," Prime Minister Poul Nyrup Rasmussen declared after his triumph. "There will be no slackening."

During Mr Rasmussen's tenure since 1993, unemployment has been nearly halved, to just over 7 per cent, the economy has experienced one of Europe's best growth rates, and budget deficits turned into a surplus last year.

Yet this boom has not prevented the rise of the racist Danish People's Party, which which campaigns for tighter immigration controls, scored more than 7 per cent and enters the political stage with 13 MPs at its first attempt.