COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Greenland's governing Siumut party finished barely ahead of the Arctic island's main opposition group in parliamentary elections in the semi-autonomous Danish territory, and will get the first crack at forming a coalition government.
The social-democratic Siumut won 34.3 percent of the votes, a mere 326 votes over the left-leaning Inuit Ataqatigiit, or IA, which grabbed 33.2 percent, according to official returns Saturday. Each party got 11 of the 31 seats in Inatsisartut, or Parliament.
The Democrats won four seats and newcomer Partii Naleraq took three. They could become kingmakers unless Siumut leader Kim Kielsen, 48, attempts teaming up with IA. The business-oriented Atassut party got 2 seats.
The next government will face a series of challenges as the ice-capped country's dreams of a mining boom have failed to materialize and public finances are in worse shape than previously thought.
Last year, the Siumut-led government lifted a 25-year-old ban on uranium mining, paving the way to rare-earth projects which often generate uranium as a byproduct. IA has promised to reinstate the ban.
Greenland governs its own affairs but depends on an annual grant of 3.6 billion kroner ($600 million) from its former colonial ruler, Denmark
The elections were held 18 months ahead of time after former Siumut Premier Aleqa Hammond stepped down after admitting she used government funds privately. Hammond didn't run in Friday's elections.
Turnout was 72.9 percent of the 40,424 eligible voters, a slight drop from the 2013 elections.