1 of 2Photo: Mads Klaus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix/TT
Soren Pape Poulsen made a bold bid for prime minister. Then a series of slanders and lies about her husband were exposed.
Disagreements over the great Danish politician led to a race of opinion – and a divorce.
“I am ready,” said the leader of the Conservative People’s Party, Søren Pape Poulsen, at a press conference on August 15.
He launched himself as the third candidate for prime minister, alongside Social Democratic MPs Mette Frederiksen and Jakob Illmann Jensen of Bourgeois Finster, and as the best who could rally the Danish right.
Until then, Pape Poulsen’s popularity had only grown and, according to polls, it was the candidate that Danes had the most confidence in. But the candidacy also means that Denmark’s mainstream media has put him – and his high-profile husband – under the microscope.
Not at all familiar
Pape Poulsen’s husband, Josue Medina Vasquez, said, among other things, that the former president of the Dominican Republic, Danilo Medina, is his uncle. Soren Pape-Poulsen presented this as fact many times, even when Medina was still president.
The evening newspaper, Extra Bladet, called the presidential family’s lawyer a few weeks ago and asked about his condition.
– this is not true. The family doesn’t know him and they don’t know him in the photo either. . . Attorney Carlos Salcedo said they had never seen him.
In other contexts, Pape Paulsen has spoken of her husband’s strong Jewish faith. The year before last, he raised it at a conference on anti-Semitism:
– It just so happens that my better half is a Jew. He used to go to the synagogue since his childhood with his family every Saturday.
In interviews, the politician told what it’s like to celebrate Danish Christmas with his Jewish in-laws.
But Extra Bladet recently traveled to the Dominican city of Los Alcarizos, the birthplace of Jose Medina Vázquez, where his neighbors and acquaintances testify that the Vázquez family is prominent members of the free Christian church, the Seventh-Day Adventists.
Informal general meeting
In further investigation, Ekstra Bladet and Jyllands-Posten take a closer look at a private trip that then-Justice Minister Søren Pape Poulsen took to the Dominican Republic in 2018.
During the trip, they held meetings with Dominican ministers and senior politicians. The meetings were arranged at the initiative of Josue Medina Vasquez and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Danish Embassy were not informed. A party friend was also wrongly presented as the Danish “Deputy Sports Minister” to the Dominican.
– It was an afterthought. If it wasn’t for my husband who said we should meet these people and make sure meetings were arranged, they probably didn’t. . . “Of course I wouldn’t,” said Soren Bab-Poulsen when he confirmed the events to Radio 4 earlier this week.
Earlier in 2018, Josue Medina Vasquez was noted to have been arrested for drunk driving. Her boyfriend, Soren Pape Poulsen, then-Minister of Justice, came out and apologized to the public.
“in good faith”
After the information was revealed in August, Pape Poulsen accused the media of interfering in his private affairs. Two weeks later, he apologized via social media:
“My husband said wrong things, and other things based on misunderstandings. This is information that I also conveyed, but in good faith.”
A few days later, Pape Paulsen announced that he and his husband had agreed to separate.
The Conservative People’s Party lost nearly five percentage points in public opinion in a month – and with it the advantage the party seemed to have for some time over its right-wing colleagues in Finster. Confidence figures for Soren Pape Paulsen have also fallen since last summer.
Somehow, an informal electoral movement has already begun in Denmark. Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen will, by all accounts, have to call an election at the latest in connection with the opening of Norway’s parliament next week.
“Falls down a lot. Internet fanatic. Proud analyst. Creator. Wannabe music lover. Introvert. Tv aficionado.”