Danish parties discuss cabinet

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COPENHAGEN (AP) - Party leaders started talks yesterday on a new cabinet after the Social Democratic Prime Minister, shaken by a poor election result, was forced to resign his coalition government.

The caretaker Prime Minister, Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, is likely to be the first asked to form a minority coalition after receiving support from five centre and left-wing parties, including his own. The opposition Liberal Party leader, Uffe Ellemann-Jensen, had support from just three right-wing parties to head a government.

In Wednesday's parliamentary elections, the outgoing Mr Rasmussen's minority coalition won an overall 43.8 per cent of the vote, dropping from 89 seats to 75 in the 179-seat assembly. Majority is 90 seats. The government collapsed when one of its four members, the Christian People's Party, failed to win enough votes in the election to stay in the parliament.

'A Social Democratic, Radical and Centre Democrat construction, that's what I've been working on because we have a larger backing,' said Mr Rasmussen. He made the comments after formally handing over his resignation to the Queen Margrethe II. The change of government was not likely to affect domestic or foreign issues, which are guided by consensus. In a comment, the Berlingske Tidende daily said the electorate 'had judged politicians on their past. That's why the government parties dropped (in support).'