Although I left The Nation, I have continued my role as the Noted page’s unofficial international monitor of minor elections, this time reporting the results from Greenland. On a loosely related note, the new Greenlandic PM Kuupik Kleist is on Facebook. My editor friended him.
On June 2 the incongruous forces of global warming and indigenous self-determination combined to bring the leftist Inuit Ataqatigiit Party (IA) to power in Greenland, forcing a social democratic/conservative coalition out of office on the eve of the nation’s transition to self-rule. Greenland, a semi-autonomous Arctic province of Denmark with a population of about 57,600, has been disproportionately affected by global warming, which has made large swaths of its permafrost-covered landmass increasingly accessible to oil and mineral exploration for the first time.
Emboldened by the prospect of resource-driven self-sufficiency, more than 75 percent of Greenland voters opted in November for increased devolution from Denmark, which has controlled the country since the early eighteenth century. Self-rule measures, including greater control over natural resources and a switch from Danish to Greenlandic as the national language, are due to come into effect on June 21 and will likely pave the way for a vote on full independence in the near future. In advance of Greenland’s empowerment, former Prime Minister Hans Enoksen of the social democratic Siumut Party, which had run the island since it was granted limited autonomy in 1979, called an early election because, “it seems fitting to ask the people who should lead them into that new epoch.”
Greenlanders chose to award a plurality–fourteen of thirty-one seats in the Parliament–to the pro-independence IA Party. Speaking in the capital, Nuuk, where close to a quarter of the island’s population lives, IA leader Kuupik Kleist told jubilant supporters, “Greenland deserves this.”
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Picture credit: leszekwasilewski(via Flickr)