By Mikael Hertig *
Siumut rebellion is postponed, not closed down
As earlier articles have explained, internal dissatisfaction with Kim Kielsen is a threat to his leadership – both in the Siumut party — and the Government, Naalakkersuisut. The threat looks like a big internal challenge to the Siumut party. The Government can hardly just change from one leader to another, because the coalition partner, “The Democrats” only trusts exactly Kim Kielsen. A more nationalistic leader can hardly gain support from The Democrats. But the main trend inside Siumut is dominated by the wish for independence of Denmark.
Kielsen survived a first internal vote in august during the Trump “Buying Greenland “- crisis. Maybe because it was so well handled towards the international press. ” Greenland is not for sale, but ready for business “, Kielsen said.
According to an article in Sermitsiaq, the internal criticism has not stopped. The parliament members opposing Kielsen are still disappointed. They feel Kielsen does not involve them sufficiently in the political processes. The impression is that it has to do both with the agreement with the Danish Government about investing in three new international airports in Greenland, fishing quotas and other important matters. The Fall session has to produce a new budget bill.
As the experience from earlier shows, it is easy to misunderstand the underlying processes and internal relations in the leading Siumut party. Thus, I anticipated Kielsen to be overthrown in August. This did not happen. On the contrary, the first vote from the cities demonstrated massive support to Kielsen. The question seems to be how much support the discontented MP’s (members of the Parliament, Inatsisartut) can mobilize when the fall session opens September 20.
Nevertheless, the article written by Turnowsky leaves the impression that the fall season may be more than turbulent, rather ‘extremely stormy’. The point of view refers to leading politicians from the bigger opposition parti Inuit Ataqarigiit ( IA) and The Democrats.
Spokesman for the seven Siumut MP rebels, Anders Olsen continuously declares his mistrust to Kim Kielsen.
“It is unpleasant to us in the supportive party to look at internal rivalry in the Government”, leading spokesman Justus Hansen, the Democrats said to Sermitsiaq. He also pinpoints that a majority among the Siumut Party’s group supports mistrust towards Kielsen. That underlines The Democrat’s position. They support the Kielsen’s less nationalistic approach and of course do not interfere in internal Siumut relations.
Also IA chair Múte B Egede expects that the Siumut turmoil may dominate the autumn session.
“It is obvious to everyone that the entire coalition looks unstable. We do not know how the seven rebels in Siumut will behave as the autumn session opens”, he says.
Before the session opens, the seven Siumut opponents have to meet with the Siumut main board in an attempt to settle the internal disputes. Seen from outside, neither Justus Hansen (Dem) nor Múte B Egede (IA) expects the quarrelling to stop.
The risk is, that in spite of the Siumut partymembers support to Kielsen, the unstable relations inside the parliament group will continue. “I fear that the autumn will be dominated by this”, Justus Hansen said to Sermitsiaq.
Will the inner quarrel in the Siumut parliament group continue?
The seven rebels until now have not indicated if they will continue to support a misconfidence votum in the Siumut party or not. If Kielsen cannot mobilize trust in the Siumut party organization, he will have to open new elecions. This is just one of the possibilities. The seven rebels just experienced support to Kielsen among the local board members from the cities. Now, my best guess is that the instability may carry on for a longer time while Kielsen is still sitting as Prime Minister, Naalakkersuisut. The situation could be characterized as stalling.
“It is obvious that Kielsen’s closed management style destructs cooperation in Parliament, We should cooperate in the work formulating a clear vision for the Greenland’s future” Múte B. Egede sais.
The Treasury Bill
Even if Kim Kielsen avoids a distrust vote and the country thus does not have a choice, Múte Bourup Egede expects a turbulent political fall ahead:
” I expect tough negotiations on the Finance Act. Naalakkersuisut has made it clear that there is very little room for maneuver and that all proposals for new expenditure must be accompanied by proposals for financing.”
Democrats – want savings in the public sector. (Greenland’s public sector is huge) It will make the priorities even tougher if, at the same time, there is a desire to spend more money on, for example, schools, vulnerable children and the elderly, it may be difficult to find a proposal satisfying both Democrats and Siumut.
“Because of the expensive airport financing, this may effect the social welfare. I think that it may be tough because the government seems to save wellfare without having a final plan”, Egede said.
* Mikael Hertig worked in Greenland 2013-17 at the Government of Greenland, partly as civil servant, partly as consultant. He also worked as a Public Law teacher in Nuuk. He is M. of Pol. Sci. Now, he is studying International Law and International Security at the University of Southern Denmark.