Denmark's Social Democratic leader pursues government talks with main opposition party

Denmark Government negotiations at Marienborg

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) -Denmark's Social Democratic leader and acting prime minister Mette Frederiksen said on Wednesday she had edged closer to forming a new government across the political divide after dropping negotiations with two traditional left-wing allies.

Frederiksen, whose centre-left Social Democratic Party won 27.5% of the votes in Denmark's Nov. 1 general election, making it the biggest group among the dozen parties in parliament, said she would begin "concrete talks" with main opposition party, the Liberal Party, later on Wednesday.

"After the initial meetings and discussions and statements from the Liberal Party, it is my assessment that we can form a broad government in Denmark," Frederiksen told journalists, adding that upcoming negotiations could last several weeks.

Such a coalition would mark the first time in more than four decades that a government is formed across the traditional left-right divide, significantly changing the Nordic country's political landscape.

Leader of the Liberal Party, Jakob Elleman-Jensen, told a party congress during the weekend he was prepared to enter talks about a government with Frederiksen, a significant shift in his stance compared to comments made during the election campaign.

The Social Democrats haven't formed a government with the Liberal Party since 1978, which turned out to be a collaboration marred by internal squabbling. It lasted only 14 months.

Earlier on Wednesday, two former supporting parties, the Red-Green Alliance and the Alternative, said they had been ousted from government negotiations by Frederiksen.

When Frederiksen called the general election in October, she announced she would seek to form a bipartisan government in order to steer the country safely through uncertain times.

If an attempt at a broad deal fails, Frederiksen could pursue a government based on only the left-leaning bloc, which won 90 seats and hence the slimmest possible majority in the 179-seat parliament.

(Reporting by Copenhagen Newsroom, editing by Terje Solsvik; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel)