On 15 June 2015, the United Nations General Assembly elected Mogens Lykketoft of Denmark to serve as the President of its seventieth session, which runs from September 2015 to September 2016. At the time of his election, Mr. Lykketoft was the Speaker (President) of the Danish Parliament, a position he has held since 2011.
Mr. Lykketoft is an economist by training and a veteran parliamentarian and government minister. As chairman of the Social Democratic Party from 2002 to 2005, he was also the opposition leader in Parliament.
A Cabinet Minister for a total of 11 years – beginning in 1981, when he was Minister for Taxation – Mr. Lykketoft served most recently as Foreign Minister, from 2000 to 2001. Earlier, as Finance Minister from 1993 to 2000, he spearheaded economic reforms that led to a rise in employment rates and a strengthened economy. During the same period, Denmark, which has traditionally been an active supporter of international development efforts, dramatically exceeded its development assistance targets.
Mr. Lykketoft’s career in Parliament began in 1981 and has spanned a dozen consecutive general elections – including the latest, in June 2015. He has currently taken leave from Parliament while he serves as the President of the United Nations General Assembly.
While Vice-President of the Parliament from 2009 to 2011, Mr. Lykketoft also served on its Public Accounts Committee, from 2006 to 2011, and was the foreign policy spokesman of his party from 2005 to 2011.
When his party was in opposition over the period 1982 to 1993, Mr. Lykketoft chaired several parliamentary committees and was its key negotiator with the government on economic policy and budgets. He also served as his party’s parliamentary spokesperson from 1991 to 1993, and again, from 2001 to 2002.
Previously, from 1975 to 1981, Mr. Lykketoft headed a department of the Danish Labour Movement’s Economic Council – an economic think-tank established by the Danish Confederation of Trade Unions and the Social Democratic Party.
Since 2010, Mr. Lykketoft has been a regular foreign affairs analyst and commentator with Danish TV2 News, appearing with former Foreign Minister Uffe Ellemann-Jensen of the Danish Liberal Party on the weekly news magazine Ellemann & Lykketoft.
Born in Copenhagen on 9 January 1946, Mr. Lykketoft will turn 70 during the Assembly’s seventieth session, a fact he highlighted during his acceptance speech to the world body upon his election. A graduate of the University of Copenhagen with a Master’s degree in economics, he has written books and articles on subjects ranging from foreign policy and security to economics and the “Danish Model” for employment and social welfare, including two books he co-authored with his wife, the Danish journalist and writer, Mette Holm. He has two daughters and five grandsons.