Denmark's Parliament on Friday elected Pia Kjaersgaard, retired leader of the anti-immigration Danish People's Party, as its speaker, a largely ceremonial post.

First elected to the 179-seat Folketing in 1984, Kjaersgaard became deputy speaker three years ago.

In 1995, she co-founded the party that became Denmark's second largest in the June 18 election. It is seen as one of the trailblazers in a Europe-wide surge of populist parties opposed to immigration and skeptical of the 28-nation European Union.

It is one of four in the center-right bloc that backs Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen's minority government, which this week reached its first deal aimed at reducing the number of asylum-seekers by lowering social benefits.

Kjaersgaard, 68, retired as party leader in 2012.