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Formand for Siumut, Aleqa Hammond

Aleqa Hammond, leader of Greenland’s opposition party, Siumut, is advocating that the country should work towards leaving the commonwealth, which has left politicians at Christiansborg shaking their heads.

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Siumut wants independence for Greenland

21. feb. 2013 13.37 English

In the wake of the recent debate in Greenland on raw materials, mining and money, the social-democratic Siumut party is now advocating that the country should work towards leaving the commonwealth with Denmark and the Faroe Islands.

“Siumut wants independence. We want to get away from the block grant scheme. Greenland wants to take responsibility for all areas. For the future, Greenland is working towards being an independent state outside the commonwealth,” Aleqa Hammond, Siumut’s leader, told DR News. Hammond could become Greenland’s first female head of government at the upcoming elections.

DPP shocked

Søren Espersen, spokesman on Greenland affairs for the Danish People’s Party (DPP), is taken aback by Siumut’s announcement.

“I’m shocked. Aleqa Hammond is usually a very pragmatic politician. This is the sort of pie-in-the-sky thinking that we last heard in the sixties and which I thought was a thing of the past,” he said.

The Conservatives are cautioning against Greenland withdrawing from the commonwealth. According to Per Stig Møller, former Minister for Foreign Affairs, the superpowers ‒ the USA, China and Russia ‒ have such a high interest in the Arctic region that Greenland is better protected alongside Denmark in the UN and NATO.

Møller believes, however, that the debate may well lead to Greenland becoming independent.

“It’s very likely. Unless we modernise the commonwealth in a way that Greenland is happy with, it will be the end of the commonwealth,” Møller told DR News.

Interesting union

Neither the Prime Minister nor the Minister for Foreign Affairs have commented on Siumut’s announcement, but the Social Democrats in general are not enthusiastic about the idea.

“We respect the wishes of the Greenlanders. It’s their legal right. But I would also say that we want to retain the commonwealth of the realm because we think it’s a unique and interesting commonwealth,” said Flemming Møller, the Social Democrats’ spokesman for Greenland.

Elections are due to be held in Greenland on 12 March.

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