Politics of Greenland

The politics of Greenland, a "constituent country" (Greenlandic: nuna, Danish: land) of the Kingdom of Denmark, function in a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic dependency, whereby the prime minister is the head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and parliament Inatsisartut. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. Greenland has full autonomy on most matters, except on policies and decisions affecting the region including negotiations with the devolved legislatures and the Folketing (English: Parliament of Denmark).

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Executive power

Main office holders
Office Name Party Since
Queen Margrethe II of Denmark 14 January 1972
High Commissioner Mikaela Engell April 1, 2011
Prime Minister Kim Kielsen Forward (Siumut) (S) December 10, 2014

Executive power rests with a high commissioner, and a prime minister heads the Cabinet. The high commissioner of Greenland is appointed by the monarch (on from 2011: Queen Margrethe II), and the prime minister is elected indirectly by parliament elections results for four-year terms.

The High Commissioner has a seat in the Inatsisartut, he or she is allowed to speak in the Inatsisartut regarding common Danish/Greenlandic affairs, but he or she is not allowed to vote.[1] Following legislative elections, the leader of the party that wins the most seats is usually given the initiative to establish a new coalition by the Greenlandic Parliament, unless the current Naalakkersuisut Siulittaasuat (Prime Minister in English) is still in power. However, if he/she fails, the Chairman of the parliament asks all chairmen of the parties elected to the parliament, and asks them to point to another chairman who they feel can rightly form a new coalition. The chairman with the most votes is then handed the initiative. After forming the coalition, the Naalakkersuisut Siulittaasuat leads the Naalakkersuisut. The Naalakkersuisut will often consist of around 9 members. The coalition parties divide the various ministries among themselves and after this, the parties elect their representative to these ministries. Any other member of the cabinet is called a Naalakkersuisoq.

Legislative branch

Legislative power is shared by the government and the legislature. The legislature Greenlandic Parliament (Greenlandic: Inatsisartut) is made up of 31 members elected by direct, popular vote to serve four-year terms by proportional representation. Election of 2 seats to the Danish Parliament (Danish: Folketing) was last held on June 18, 2015. The current composition is shown below

 Summary of the 24 April 2018 Parliament of Greenland election results[2]
Parties Leaders Votes Seats
# % ± # ±
Siumut (Forward) (S) Kim Kielsen 7,957 27.2 7.1 9 2
Inuit Ataqatigiit (Community of the People) (IA) Sara Olsvig 7,478 25.5 7.6 8 3
Demokraatit (Democrats) (D) Randi Vestergaard Evaldsen 5,712 19.5 7.7 6 2
Partii Naleraq (Point of Orientation) (PN) Hans Enoksen 3,931 13.4 1.8 4 1
Atassut (Solidarity) (A) Siverth K. Heilmann 1,730 5.9 0.6 2 0
Suleqatigiissitsisut (Cooperation Party) (SA) Michael Rosing 1,193 4.1 New 1 1
Nunatta Qitornai (Descendants of Our Country) (NQ) Vittus Qujaukitsoq 1,002 3.4 New 1 1
Candidates without parties 22 0.1 0.0 0 0
Invalid votes 111
Subtotal(Turnout: 72.9% – electorate: 40,424) 29,488 100.0 31

All turnout figures include invalid votes, subtotals and totals exclude invalid votes

 Summary of the 18 June 2015 Parliament of Denmark election Greenlandic results[3]
Parties Leaders Votes Seats
# % ± # ±
Inuit Ataqatigiit (Community of the People) (IA) Sara Olsvig 7,904 38.5 4.2 1 0
Siumut (Forward) (S) Kim Kielsen 7,831 38.2 1.1 1 0
Demokraatit (Democrats) (D) Anda Uldum 1,753 8.5 4.1 0 0
Atassut (Solidarity) (A) Knud Kristiansen 1,526 7.4 0.1 0 0
Partii Naleraq (Point of Orientation) (PN) Hans Enoksen 962 4.7 New 0 New
Invalid votes 538
Subtotal(Turnout: 50.0% – electorate: 41,048) 20,514 100.0 2

All turnout figures include invalid votes, subtotals and totals exclude invalid votes

Judicial branch

Greenland's judicial system is based on the Danish civil law system, operates independently of the legislature and the executive. It has two court of first instance: the District Courts and the Court of Greenland depending on the type of case, whereas the High Court of Greenland hears cases as the second instance. Decisions made by the High Court of Greenland may be brought before the Supreme Court subject to the permission of the Appeals Permission Board. Appeals may be submitted to the Østre Landsret and the Supreme Court of Denmark (Højesteret).

Political parties and elections

Greenland has a multi-party system (disputing independence versus unionism as well as left versus right). Governments are usually coalition governments. The Greenlandic Parliament (Inatsisartut) has 31 seats. Members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms.

Administrative divisions

The island is administratively divided into 5 municipalities[4] with about 74 cities and villages.

International affairs

Along with diplomatic missions to the European Union and the United States,[5] Greenland participates in the Nordic Council, Arctic Council, International Whaling Commission (Complete list of participation of Greenland in international organisations).

With Denmark having responsibility for Greenland's international affairs, other countries do not have direct diplomatic representation in Greenland — their embassies or consulates in Copenhagen are responsible for their relations with Greenland and their citizens staying or living there.

Greenland is represented internationally by the embassies and consulates of Denmark, although Greenland has an independent Representation to the European Union in Brussels since 1992[6] and in the United States in Washington D.C since 2014.[7]

Greenland maintains economic and cultural relations with Taiwan via Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Canada.

International organization participation

See also


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