Path of independence

A new shift of leadership in Greenland’s political top may fuel more energy into the country’s current process of independence from the Kingdom of Denmark.
A headline in New York from when president Donald Trump tried to purchase Greenland from Denmark
Foto: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

Copenhagen, Denmark (TP).

The head of Greenland’s government Kim Kielsen lost his chairmanship for the biggest political party in the country. The Greenlandic social democratic party known as Siumut favoured Erik Jensen with 39 votes against Kielsen’s 32 at a party election on Sunday last week, High North News reports.

Mr. Jensen then fulfills his pledge from last year vowing to dethrone Mr. Kielsen from the party’s highest position. Mr. Jensen resigned his position as minister of raw material and labour market in Mr. Kielsen’s cabinet in November 2019, Greenland’s government stated in a previous press release.

Winning the chairmanship at Siumut has significant impact on Greenland’s overall political direction. Greenland formed its parliamentary system in 1979 and since then, Siumut has led all but one government. And only once has a Siumut led government had a leader who was not the chairman of the same party.

Independence from Denmark continues

According to High North News, Mr. Jensen says that he will follow the independence from Denmark with more energy than his predecessor ever did as Siumut’s chairman for six years.

‘That was in my election program. We are on the path towards independence. That is what provides warmth in any heart in Greenland. We aim to take over more areas of responsibility from Denmark,’ Mr. Jensen says.

One of the initiatives to achieve greater independence is to open trade possibilities with other nations such as the US and China.

Denmark is currently paying Greenland with a yearly financial grant that covers the Greenlandic governments administrative costs. The grant was created when the Danish government handed the administrative responsibility to the new established Greenlandic home rule in 1979.

Greenland is free to replace this grant if they can create enough revenue to be self-sufficient. And even with a growing GDP, partly because of higher fish prices, Greenland is far from making enough money to cover the administrative costs.

With the increased interest from the US, Greenland has marked its importance on the world map. This may provide them with a stronger position when negotiating trade agreements with other nations. Negotiations that the new chairman and potential coming leader of Greenland does not seem to oppose.

‘Greenland wants to cooperate with nations all over the world, whether they are blue, yellow or red, as long as they observe the law, relevant conventions and human rights,’ Mr. Jensen says.

New leadership

The chairman is not the only shift of top personnel at Siumut. Majority of the new main board consists of Erik Jensen supporters.

The new main board will decide if the current leader of Greenland’s government can continue in this position without being Siumut’s chairman. Or if they should place Mr. Jensen as the new leader, Greenlandic Broadcasting Corporation writes.

But Mr. Jensen is confident that it will not be necessary to appeal for a new national election, risking a powershift from the current Siumut led government.

Both Mr. Kielsen and Mr. Jensen has ensured that they will listen to the new main board’s decision. It is yet to be confirmed when the main board will meet to decide this.

There has been turmoil within the party. Several figures from Siumut had questioned Mr. Kielsens leadership. Seven members openly demanded his departure last year, Ritzau writes published by TV2.

Mr. Jensen did not answer exactly how he differs from the dethroned Mr. Kielsen to Greenlandic Broadcasting Corporation, but he urges for new leadership in the country.

‘We need leadership in our country. Someone who can gather the people and listen to them. I will take this step and use my skills to gather everyone in Siumut and Greenland,’ Mr. Jensen says.

Denmark still control foreign affairs and defence policies on behalf of Greenland.


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The Postcolonial | Copenhagen | CVR: 41032421

Lasse Sørensen (Founding Editor-In-Chief)

Suvi Loponen (Deputy Editor)