Denmark’s center-right opposition parties have beaten the ruling coalition after a close general election in the country.
With all mainland votes counted, ex-PM Lars Lokke Rasmussen’s center-right group beat PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt’s center-left coalition, although her party is the largest.
Helle Thorning-Schmidt has now stood down as Social Democratic Party leader.
The DPP’s leader Kristian Thulesen Dahl had previously poured cold water on the idea of going into government.
Kristian Thulesen Dahl told Denmark’s Politiken he preferred “the little free bird role, which can make the Danish People’s Party come closer to getting our policy through in the real world than you think”.
He could yet be in a position to make a bid to become prime minister.
In a victory speech just before 01:30 local time, Lars Lokke Rasmussen – who led Denmark between 2009 and 2011 – said: “Four years ago, we returned the keys to the PM’s office. I said that time that they were only a loan.”
He said he would push for “control of the flow of refugees”.
Helle Thorning-Schmidt’s governing Social Democratic Party was the biggest party, winning at least 26.3% of the vote, according to Danish broadcaster DR.
Her allies failed to gain as much of the vote as those of the opposition and she stood down as leader after conceding defeat.
Helle Thorning-Schmidt said she was proud to have led the Social Democratic Party to the highest percentage of the vote, adding: “We lost at the finish line.”
According to DR, the Danish People’s Party won 21.1% of the vote, and Lars Lokke Rasmussen’s Denmark Liberal Party came third on 19.5%.