( Reuters ) - Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen looked set to lead his centre-right coalition to a third term in power in parliamentary elections on Tuesday, according to projections from national broadcaster DR.
With 9 percent of votes counted, the broadcaster said the ruling Liberal-Conservative coalition and its far-right ally, the Danish People's Party, would take 94 seats in the 179-seat parliament -- an absolute majority.
Exit polls before voting ended had suggested the bloc, led by Rasmussen's Liberals, would need the added muscle of the New Alliance, a six-month-old centrist party that has pledged to support Rasmussen in coalition talks.
The Social Democrat-led opposition was trailing with 77 seats, the projection showed, while New Alliance got four seats.
Festivities at the Liberal Party's election-night venue started as the projections rolled in.
"The way it's looking, the Liberals are right now positioned to stay in power," said Morten Dahlin, 18, a member of the Liberal youth. "It's not too early to party."
Finance Minister Thor Petersen of the Liberal Party told Reuters "It looks like the government will be the same tomorrow."
Asked if it was time to start celebrating, he said "yes."
Rasmussen, 54, called a vote before the February 2009 deadline, believing a strong economic record would secure his Liberal-Conservative coalition a third term ahead of tough public sector wage talks next year.
He swept to power in 2001 on vows to cut taxes and curb the flow of refugees into the Nordic country and won a second term in 2005, promising more of the same.
In the latest campaign he unveiled plans to spend billions of crowns on improving the already extensive welfare state, while still cutting taxes.
The veteran politician has been in a neck-and-neck race with Social Democrat leader Helle Thorning-Schmidt for most of the campaign, but opinion polls published on Tuesday showed the pendulum swinging back in his favor.
Rasmussen has tried to disarm the charismatic Thorning-Schmidt in key areas where she could have challenged him in the campaign, withdrawing Danish ground troops from Iraq and softening his stance on asylum-seekers with children.