The leading Siumut Party is at risk at being split up in two after the congress July 26. Thinking in European logics, a cleavage wood seem inevitable. However, Greenlanders think and act in a culture trying to avoid conflicts. And if conflicts comes to the surface, to live with them if possible.
July 10 Vittus Qujaukitsoq is the only candidate for chairmanship. Everyone will of course expect Kim Kielsen to go for chairmanship. As a sitting Landsstyreformand (Prime Minister) Kim Kielsen would under normal conditions have to retire if not reelected.
Siumut was more than anything expressing the road to indepence. Today, Greenland must be seen as a hybride between colony and independent state, having Denmark as the postcolonial power.
Since Siumut was established it should rather be seen as a movement than a traditional political party. The identity relies on the idea of independence – whatever it means.
The trouble seen from Nuuk Greenland seems to be when independence can be realized. Greenland’s economy will normally be seen as highly dependant on relations to Denmark and not sustainable. Without Danish grants at about 4-5 Bn DKK out of an GDP at 23 BN DKK most people and economists anticipate a collapse of Greenland’s economy.
Thus, seen as a principle, Greenlanders prefer autonomy. However, if the prospect is severe loss in living standards, they will prefer status quo.
Mobilizing polical power in Greenland
In general terms, mobilizing political power in Greenland may be very difficult. The worlds biggest island has 56.000 inhabitants spread with distances of 2.560 kilometers from north to south. No roads. Infrastructure between cities and villages totally depends on traffic by air or by boat. People are living under isolated conditions very dependent on the people near them (proximity).
Under these circumstances the dream of getting rid of the omnipresent colonial power is a common feeling and the single agenda to win political capital.
Siumut has realized to move the political agenda from the former danification / assimilition policy to the one of indepence. Only one small political party is sceptical to independence. This happened by first fighting for home rule (Law introduced 1979) and later Self Rule (Act of Self Rule 2009). The results were attained by the faboulous three: Moses Olsen (Danish wikipedia), Jonathan Motzfeldt and Lars Emil Johansen.
The cleavage between the branches might be seen as just difference degrees of nationalism. While Prime Minister Kim Kielsen leads the country with pragamatism and with deep understanding together with the orher big party Inuit Ataqatugiit , trying to make the economy more sustainable in the long run as presumption to win independence, the criticism from Vittus Qujaukitsoq, supported from Lars Emil Johansen says something like: You are working too much in the engine room. The political leader should look at the seascape and point out the direction. This should be communicated; if not, the support to Siumut would in the long run dissolve – they fear.
A very important Siumut member, former mayor of the southern municipality Joergen Waever Johansen has decided to go for Kim Kielsen. Without predicting too precisely it seems that Kim Kielsen will have opportunity to win the race.
The trouble is that the economy does not really develop. The idea of waiting for a GDP with a surplus of 4 bn DKK seems a look into the horizon. The question for the pragmatics is: ” What should you do with a step forward if you do’nt move at all?”
If Kim Kielsen wins, a group consisting of Lars Emil Johansen, Doris Jacobsen, Vittus Qujaukitsoq and Aleqa Hammond will have to react by doing something new – for instance establishing a new political party or joining Hans Enoksen’s small Naleraq Party. As Naleraq is member of the governmental coalition, such a change will not necessarily lead to a direct collapse of the Government. But it looks as if the government is into some degree fragile already. A further consequence might thus be Naleraq’s way out of the coalition.
If Vittus Qujaukitsoq wins the election the result will be that IA leaves government. Vittus cannot by any chance get elected as Landsstyreformand (Prime Minister). The construction will be unstable, and new election will seem to be the result.
Even though Narleraq and Siumut parties together can establish a majority, this coalition of course will be almost impossible.
A third and somewhat hypothetic possibility could be a coalition between Demokratiit Attasut and IA. With 16 seats out of 31, this could just produce a narrow majority. Furthermore, the one representative from Attasut (normally seen as ‘right wing’ does not really differ from the other parties. Nevertheless, if Kim Kielsen has to retire, election would typically be the consequence.
It looks like a new election early in the autoumn if Vittus wins. Maybe a little later if he doesn’t. But the political courage to do something new for the economy seems to persist.
After all, Greenlandic politics is difficult to read and detect. Let us see what happens.