May 6, 2019 / 11:21 AM / 4 months ago

New far-right party seen entering Danish parliament - opinion poll

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - A new Danish far-right party that wants Islam banned and hundreds of thousands of Muslims deported could win seats in Denmark’s parliament in an upcoming election, an opinion poll showed on Monday.

FILE PHOTO: Denmark's Rasmus Paludan, from the far-right Stram Kurs (Hard Line) party, reacts in Faelledparken, in Copenhagen, Denmark, April 24, 2019. Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix via Reuters/File Photo

The party ‘Stram Kurs’, which means Hard Line, was founded in 2017 by lawyer Rasmus Paludan who first came to public attention by posting anti-Islam YouTube videos. His stunts have included publicly burning the Koran, sometimes wrapped in bacon, in what he calls a tribute to free speech.

A Voxmeter poll published on Monday showed that Hard Line would win 2.4 percent of the vote, thereby clearing the 2 percent barrier required to enter the Danish parliament. It gave its margin of error as a maximum of 2.7 percentage points.

Two other polls released over the past week have also shown the new party entering parliament, giving it between 2.7 percent and 3.9 percent of the vote.

Such an outcome would be a blow to Denmark’s biggest populist party, the Danish People’s Party (DF), which has been part of the political establishment in Denmark for decades and used to be the toughest on immigration.

Hard Line gathered the roughly 20,000 voter signatures needed to contest the parliamentary election, which must be held by June 17 at the latest.

In April Danish police arrested 23 people after unrest caused by a demonstration held by the Hard Line leader.

Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen, leader of the centre-right Liberal Party, condemned the far-right demonstration. It is unclear whether mainstream parties would cooperate with Hard Line if it does win parliamentary seats.

Earlier this year a court handed Paludan a 14-day conditional jail sentence for racism towards a spokeswoman for the Black Lives Matter movement. He has appealed the sentence and denies any wrongdoing.

(This story has been refilled to correct to centre-right, not centre-left in 8th paragraph)

Reporting by Andreas Mortensen, editing by Stine Jacobsen and Gareth Jones

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