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Thursday, 19 February, 1998, 15:27 GMT
Denmark to hold early elections next month

Danish Prime Minister, Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, has called an early election for March 11.

Under the constitution the election had to take place no later than September but Mr Rasmussen, who is leader of the Social Democrats, told parliament that it was important to avoid a period of uncertainty prior to a crucial referendum on the future shape of the EU.

That referendum, on the Amsterdam Treaty, takes place on May 28.

The Amsterdam Treaty is based on the Maastricht Treaty inititally rejected by Danes in a referendum in 1992 and then accepted a year later.Denmark's centre-left coalition has been in office since 1993.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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