Greenland: Kielsen will not retire immidiately – but later UPDATED

Crisis in Government of Greenland: Kielsen will retire at a later stage

By Mikael Hertig August 14 2019  
Foto af landsstyreformand Kim Kielsen taget fra hans nytåsrtale - juletræ i baggrunden

Kim Kielsen, chair of Siumut and prime minister for Government of Greeland

  As mentioned in an article yesterday, seven members of  the chair of Siumut party ("Siumut" = "Avance") claimed the retirement of Kim Kielsen, Prime Minister of Government of Greenland . The crisis is obvious, and the weakened Prime Minister has declared not to run for re-election as chairman. After crisis meetings in the Siumut party, it is however obvious that he is not going to retire immidiately. ARTICLES IN THE KIELSEN-CASE IN DANISH        

Geography, new airports and the seven Siumut protesters


None of the protesting politicians are from Nuuk

As mentioned in this article,  Kielsen is challenged as chair by his own back benchers. It is also mentioned that the governments survival depends on other political parties. The Democrats - normally considered pro Danish - has declared that the inside Siumut conflict should not disturb the future airport plans. This signal secures that Kielsens government still has majority support in the Parliament Inatsisartut. The crisis was opened tuesday (monday late Greenlandic time) as 7 Siumut MPs  ideclared distrust in their party chair and Prime Minister.  This article introduced the Greenlandic crisis yesterday. In a remarkable article in French, it is demonstrated that understanding Greenlandic politics has much to to with geography. The dichotomy between the two traditional leading parties, Siumut and IA, has much to do with different approaches to Nuuk as Greenland's development as Greenland's metropol.  In total, Greenland is under depopulation.  However, the capitol with 17.000 inhabitants is  steadily growing. Whereas the support of Nuuk is big in IA, Siumut support is biggest from all other cities and settlements. However, this i s a trend.  Greenland has 56 thousand inhabitants, so the capital has almost one third of these. Many of the inhabitants in Nuuk identify themselves according to which city or setttlement they originally came from or where they have their main family relations. Greenland has neither  roads nor railways. Transportation has to go by boat or flight.   Today, Greenland has three international airports. The central airport is Kangerlussuaq  near the polar circle. This airport functions as hub for sending people to the main cities. However, according to a new plan, three cities are going to have new Atlantic airports. The cities are Illulissat, Nuuk and Qaqortoq. In the future it will thus be possible to reach Nuuk and the tourist city Illulisatt directly from North America and Europe. The 300 million $ investment has been a central political issue during the last years. The airport plan needs foreign financing; it is now decided that Government of Denmark will assist this airport plans. This could by some politicians be anticipated as contradicting to the main policy of the development towards independence.

Landskab ved Qinngorput april 2017 Mikael Hertig foto (c)


Is he really going to retire?

Kielsen seems to have entered a Theresa May-like position. He is - it seems to me - expected to retire within the next 12 months. In the least, he has won time to continue, and the airport plan seems rather stable. Kielsen is considered a very pragmatic and silent political type. Since he went Prime Minister, he has steadily been accused of not including a broad political cooperation. But it seems at least to me a rather typical phenomena in Greenlandic politics. But in this case there is something more to it. By promising to retire sooner or later his opportunities to remain is of course really reduced. It will be interesting to follow him from now until the next Siumut assembly.  The real issue is that it seems difficult to find a sucessor. Because of the depopulation Siumuts position as leading party is threatened. For the time being, no candidate seems directly ready to take over. In Siumut for the time being, there is a lot of criticism, but no personal alternative. This has to be changed from now until a possible takeover.        

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