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Politics

Danish Socialist People's Party to leave government over utility sale to Goldman Sachs

One of the junior members of Denmark's coalition government has announced it will step down. The move comes in reaction to a business deal involving a state-owned energy group and Goldman Sachs.

The stability of Denmark's center-left coalition government was in question on Thursday after one of its junior coalition partners, the Socialist People's Party (SF), said it was resigning. The planned sale of the state-owned energy group DONG to US-investment bank Goldman Sachs had prompted the move.

"We have followed this…case to the end," SF leader Annette Vilhelmsen told reporters at a press conference.

Vilhelmsen resigned her post as partner leader and was to be followed by six SF members from the 23-member cabinet.

There was no immediate reaction available from Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, who now heads a two-party minority government.

Bloomberg news reported on Tuesday that a pending 8-billion krone (1 billion euro, $1.5 billion) investment - which would translate to roughly an 18-percent stake - by Goldman Sachs in the Danish energy group had sparked an mass public and political backlash. A recent online petition against the sale had gathered some 160,000 signatures this week. Several Danish pension funds had also tried to counter-bid Goldman Sachs.

The same report went on to say that Danish lawmakers were to vote on the government's planned sale on Thursday.

Since October 2011, Prime Minister Thorning-Schmidt has led a coalition government compromised of her Social Democrats party, the Social Liberals and the Socialist People's Party.

kms/ (AFP, Reuters, dpa)

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