Mayor of Copenhagen steps down over sexual harassment cases

Mr Frank Jensen will also step down as deputy of Denmark's governing Social Democratic Party. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

COPENHAGEN (REUTERS) - Mr Frank Jensen, mayor of Denmark's capital Copenhagen for over a decade, resigned on Monday (Oct 19) after admitting to several episodes of sexual harassment, and he apologised to "the women I have offended".

Mr Jensen, 59, who will also step down as deputy of Denmark's governing Social Democratic Party, has served as Lord Mayor of Copenhagen since 2010.

His resignation was welcomed by Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, calling it "the right decision" in a Facebook post.

"It is obvious that we in the Social Democratic Party have problems, and that needs to change now," she told local news agency Ritzau earlier on Monday.

Mr Jensen's exit came after two women, one of them employed by the Social Democrats, described being sexually harassed by Mr Jensen in 2012 and 2017, in remarks published on Friday by daily Jyllands-Posten.

They said both incidents were at social events and involved Mr Jensen touching the women against their will.

Mr Jensen said on Facebook he had been part of a "harmful" and "old" culture in the Social Democratic Party. "I would like to apologise to the women I have offended," Mr Jensen told a news conference on Monday.

A series of sexual harassment cases in Denmark have come to light in recent months as more women within politics, the movie industry and the media have come forward to describe incidents involving male colleagues and superiors.

Ms Frederiksen praised Mr Jensen for his political career spanning more than 30 years work but said "insurmountable" problems "blocked continued political involvement."

Mr Jensen, 59, previously served as minister of justice and minister of research in the 1990s and early 2000s.

In another high-profile case, the leader of the Danish Social Liberal Party, a key ally of the minority government, stepped down earlier this month after trying to hide having sexually harassed a female party colleague in 2012.

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