Rasmussen formally hands in resignation at prime minister

Anders Fogh RasmussenCopenhagen  - Newly-designated NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen formally handed in his resignation Sunday as prime minister to Danish Queen Margrethe II.

Rasmussen, 56, is to be succeeded by his namesake, 44-year-old Finance Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen, as head of the government.

The formal resignation comes a day after the NATO summit in Strasbourg chose Rasmussen as alliance's next secretary general to succeed outgoing NATO chief Jaap de Hoop Scheffer. Rasmussen would take over his NATO post on August 1.

NATO made its choice of Rasmussen with some effort after overcoming the firm resistance of Turkey. Ankara had long opposed the Danish leader in connection with the controversy surrounding the Mohammed caricatures published in the Danish press. dpa