Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Around the Arctic March 13, 2013 - 6:50 am

Greenland votes for change

Aleqa Hammond's Siumut party wins big in March 12 vote

JANE GEORGE
Siumut party supporters March 12 at a hall in Nuuk wave their party's flags and cheer as the results showing the Siumut winning start to pour in. (PHOTO BY LEIFF JOSEFSEN/ SERMITSIAQ AG)
Siumut party supporters March 12 at a hall in Nuuk wave their party's flags and cheer as the results showing the Siumut winning start to pour in. (PHOTO BY LEIFF JOSEFSEN/ SERMITSIAQ AG)

(Updated at 4:25 p.m.)

Greenland’s new premier will be Aleqa Hammond, leader of the Siumut party, according to results of the March 12 election in Greenland.

Inuit Ataqatigiit suffered “a major defeat,” Greenland’s Sermitsiaq newspaper said about the vote.

The long election day ended with a victory for Siumut, which received 42.8 per cent of the votes cast. This was an increase of 16.3 percentage points since the last election in 2009, while IA, whose leader Kuupik Kleist went down in defeat, declined by 9.3 percentage points from 2009, receiving 34.4 percent of the vote.

As the results were announced in the Nuuk hall where 300 supporters of the Siumut party had gathered, everyone waved party flags and cheered wildly, Sermitsiaq reported.

On March 13, Hammond will start negotiations on forming a coalition government with the other parties. That will determine who will support who and under what conditions.

“We are in no hurry to form a coalition,” Hammond said in a March 13 afternoon news conference.” We willspend the rest of the week to hear what the parties have on their minds, and how they see cooperation with Siumut. It is important to take it easy, when looking for a partner — or two.”

Key negotiating issues included the introduction of royalties, lifting the zero tolerance policy towards uranium mining, improvements in fisheries, combating unemployment and creating more fish plants.

Early polls had suggested the leftist, pro-independence IA party could win more than 40 per cent of the vote, enough to keep the party in power.

But new polls showed the social democratic Siumut party, which, until the last election in 2009, led all governments since the beginning of Home Rule in 1979, running close behind or even ahead of the IA.

Hammond, 48, set to become Greenland’s first woman premier, attended university in Montreal, and speaks Greenlandic, Danish, English and German fluently.

First elected to Greenland’s parliament in 2005, Hammond served as minister of finance and foreign affairs until the Siumut party lost to the IA in 2009 and Kleist became Greenland’s premier.

Nunavut Premier Eva Aariak congratulated Hammond and said she looked forward “to working together on areas of common interest.”

“Becoming the first woman to lead Kalaallit Nunaat will be a historic achievement for Greenland and I wish her success in forming a new government,” Aariak said. “Aleqa Hammond is very familiar with Nunavut and even attended Nunavut Arctic College in Iqaluit as a student.”

The results of the March 12 election, posted at 2:32 a.m. March 13:

Siumut: 42.8 per cent (12,910 votes) — up from 26.5 per cent in 2009

Inuit Ataqatigiit: 34.4 per cent (10,374 votes) — down from 43.7 per cent in 2009

Atassut: 8.1 per cent (2,454 votes)

Partii Inuit: 6.4 per cent (1930 votes)

Democrats: 6.2 per cent (1870 votes)

Kattusseqatigiit Partiiat: 1.1 per cent (326 votes)

Other: 0.0 per cent (9 votes)

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