Greenland’s IA party forms a new government

The center-left victors of this month's parliamentary election will partner with Naleraq.

By Nikolaj Skydsgaard, Reuters, Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen, Reuters - April 17, 2021
Members of Inuit Ataqatigiit (IA) celebrate in Nuuk following exit polls during Greenland’s snap parliamentary election on April 6, 2021. (Ritzau Scanpix / via Reuters)

COPENHAGEN — Greenland’s left-wing Inuit Ataqatigiit party (IA) announced a new government coalition on Friday, as it reiterated its strong environmental stance and vowed to combat acute social issues.

For only the second time in 40 years, IA won a snap parliamentary election last week with more than a third of votes, dethroning the ruling Siumut party, which had led every government except one since 1979.

IA has formed a coalition with pro-independence party Naleraq to control a total 16 seats in the 31-seat national assembly, Inatsisartut. Liberal-conservative unionist party Atassut is supporting the coalition and has two seats in the assembly.

“We are one people and we must stand together in Greenland, especially because our country is under incredible focus from the outside world,” the new Prime Minister Mute Egede told reporters in the capital Nuuk.

[Greenland’s new leadership will be challenged by a push for faster independence]

The Arctic island of 56,000 people has gained international attention since former U.S. President Donald Trump offered to buy it in 2019, partly to as a means to respond to Chinese dominance of rare earth mineral supplies.

A large but controversial rare earths mining project at Kuannersuit (also known as Kvanefjeld) in the south of the island became a major issue in the election, and the victory of IA, which has pledged to oppose the project, is seen as a strong signal on the mine’s future.

Kuannersuit contains a large deposit of rare earth metals, used to make wind turbines and electric car batteries, but also radioactive uranium, which many fear will harm the country’s fragile environment.

“We have something that money can’t buy,” Egede said. “We will do everything we can to stop the Kvanefjeld project.”