Greenland’s opposition scores huge political victory

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In the general government election held just days before Greenland adopts greater independence from Denmark, the territory’s main opposition party won by a landslide according to the Home Rule Office. Suggesting that Greenland’s indigenous people want more say in their island’s new government, the leftist Inuit Ataqatigiit (Eskimo Brotherhood) party took 43.7 percent of the votes.

This impressive tally is nearly twice as many votes as the opposition party received during the last general election in 2005. By contrast, the ruling social democrat party, Siumut (Forward), received just 26.5 percent of the votes this time around.

Reuters reports that talks to form the new government will begin shortly. It was the current Prime Minister Hans Enoksen who called for the early vote, claiming Greenland should have a fresh government mandate prior to 21 June, when expanded home rule comes into effect. This appears to have backfired.

Although nearly every political group wants eventual full independence from Denmark, they all differ on the speed by which to proceed. Reuters says that Inuit Ataqatigiit prefers to take the slow approach and solve internal problems first. The Siumut party, which has governed Greenland since 1979, favours a faster move towards full independence.

Denmark continues to insist that only Greenlanders can decide when they want to finally and permanently cut the ties after 300 years of Danish rule. Last year they voted overwhelmingly for more self-rule, but the ice-covered island still relies on economic help from Denmark, which provides around one-third of Greenland’s annual GDP.

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