COPENHAGEN — Denmark’s prime minister conceded defeat Wednesday after general elections in which left-leaning parties made large gains that will probably put the Social Democrats back in power after four years in opposition.
Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said he would resign Thursday from the post he has held since 2015.
Mr. Rasmussen’s center-right Liberal Party was getting about 23 percent of the votes, an improvement. But a big loss by the populist Danish People’s Party means the prime minister will no longer be able to muster a majority in the 179-seat Parliament.
The leader of the Social Democrats, Mette Frederiksen, said voters had decided a new direction for the country.
“Tonight we have gotten a victory” for the center-left, Ms. Frederiksen said.
The Social Democrats were emerging as Parliament’s biggest party. It and four other left-leaning parties appeared headed to having 91 seats in the new Parliament.
Mr. Rasmussen said his government would continue as caretaker. He said would recommend a governing coalition with the Social Democrats and his Liberal Party.
Unlike in other European countries, far-right populists don’t seem to be on the rise in Denmark. Before the vote, Nicolai Wammen, the Social Democrats’ No. 2 official, said the party had “a positive feeling about this election.”