Greenland's top party shuns opposition, forms coalition

Reuters News
|
Posted: Dec 04, 2014 7:13 PM

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Greenland's top political party, which narrowly won a parliamentary election last Friday, has formed a coalition government with two junior parties shunning the main opposition with whom it had talks about sharing power.

The nation of 56,000 people voted last Friday in a snap election called after an expenses scandal involving the former prime minister Aleqa Hammond, from the ruling party called Siumut.

Results showed Siumut, which has formed every single government in Greenland but one since 1979, won 34.3 percent of the vote. The main opposition party, Inuit Ataqatigiit (IA) won 33.2 percent, Greenland's election website showed.

Earlier in the week Inuit Ataqatigiit party leader, Sara Olsvig, said the two parties were in negotiations to form a coalition party. But on Thursday, she confirmed local media reports that Siumut had formed a coalition with smaller parties.

"I wish them luck," she said by telephone.

Siumut has joined forces with the Democrat Party and Atassut Party, both much smaller movements with seven seats in parliament between them.

At stake in the election was the future of mining, including for rare earths, on the world's largest non-continental island.

With untapped hydrocarbon and mineral resources, Greenland hopes to gain wealth to support its independence but must decide the pace at which to attract foreign investors.

Siumut last year lifted a decades-old ban on uranium mining, opening the door to rare earth projects as uranium is often generated as a by-product. Inuit Ataqatigiit strongly opposed the move.

On Thursday Inuit Ataqatigiit said it backed efforts to hold a referendum on the future of uranium mining in Greenland.

(Reporting by Sabina Zawadzki; editing by Andrew Hay)