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Danish PM introduces new finance minister

Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen introduced the new minister on Friday for finance after the reshuffling of the  center-right government following last week's elections.

Rasmussen also named new heads of environment and immigration ministries, and created a new ministry of climate and energy.

Interior and Health Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen was promoted to finance minister, replacing Thor Pedersen, who will become speaker of Parliament.

The move was seen as way to position Loekke Rasmussen, the deputy leader of Fogh Rasmussen's Liberal Party, for possibly becoming prime minister in the future.

Environment Minister Connie Hedegaard was named minister of climate and energy, a new position created to help prepare for 2009 U.N. climate summit in Copenhagen.

Troels Lund Poulsen was named environment minister, while Carina Christensen took the top post in the Transportation Ministry. That office earlier had been held by Jakob Axel Nielsen, who was named health minister.

The prime minister's Liberal-Conservative coalition, in power since 2001, won the Nov. 13 elections with the backing of the anti-immigrant Danish People's Party and a smaller centrist group.

Fogh Rasmussen named the outspoken Birthe Roenn Hornbech as new minister for refugees, immigration and integration. That job was previously held by Rikke Hvilshoej, who last week said she would step down.

Social Affairs Minister Karen Jespersen was named welfare and gender equality minister, another new post which incorporates both the Social Affairs Ministry and the Interior Ministry portfolios.

Later Friday, Fogh Rasmussen was to formally present his new Cabinet to Queen Margrethe, Denmark's figurehead monarch.

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