A left-wing environmental party that opposed a controversial mining project won a clear victory in Greenland’s parliamentary elections, according to the results published on Wednesday.
With 36.6 percent of the vote, the Inuit Ataqatigiit (IA) was ahead of Siumut, a Social Democratic party that has dominated Danish territory since gaining autonomy in 1979.
“Thank you to the people who trusted us to work with the people at the center for the next four years,” IA leader Mute Egede said on KNR’s public television after the results were announced.
IA, formerly in opposition, is expected to take 12 of the 31 seats in Inatsisartut, the local parliament, up from eight at present.
But without an absolute majority, the most likely scenario is for the IA to merge with smaller parties to form a coalition.
Siumut, who led the outgoing government, was partially weakened by internal strife. It received 29.4 percent of the vote, still two percentage points higher than the result in the 2018 election.
The difference between the two parties was whether to approve a controversial giant earth project and uranium mining project, which is currently the subject of public hearings.
The Kuannersuit deposit, in the south of the island, is considered one of the world’s richest minerals of uranium and rare earth metals – a group of 17 metals used as components in everything from smartphones to electric cars and weapons.
IA has called for a moratorium on uranium mining, which would effectively stop the project.
Divisions over the Kuannersuit originally triggered snap elections in the territory after one of the smaller parties left the ruling Siumut coalition.
Opponents say the project, led by the Chinese-owned Australian group Greenland Minerals, has too many environmental risks, including radioactive waste.
Egede told KNR that he would immediately start discussions to “explore various forms of cooperation” before forming a coalition government.
The 34-year-old, who has been a member of Inatsisartut since 2015, took over the leadership of the Left Green Party just over two years ago.