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Greenland parliament sets April 24 poll date

By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Stockholm (dpa) - Voters in Greenland are to go to the polls April 24, the Arctic island‘s parliament said Tuesday.

Fishing quotas and future ties with Denmark were topics tipped to dominate the election campaign.

Premier Kim Kielsen announced the pending election a week ago, but did not mention a date pending parliamentary approval.

Greenland broadcaster KNR reported that Tuesday‘s decision was supported by Kielsen‘s social democratic Siumut party, and its main coalition partner - the left-leaning party Inuit Ataqatigiit (IA).

Fisheries are an economic mainstay in Greenland. A political sticking point has been how fishing quotas for key stocks including cod, halibut and shrimp are allocated between Greenland-based and foreign vessels.

Conservationists have also cautioned that the Greenland government has set quotas too high.

The sparsely populated island with a population of 57,000 has a large degree of autonomy, though Denmark remains in charge of foreign affairs, defence and monetary policy.

Hopes are high that rare earth minerals, iron ore and gold, as well as oil and gas reserves can provide new revenue.

Parties are divided over relations to Denmark, with some opposition parties pressing for full independence.

Other parties favour a more gradual approach, thereby securing annual Danish subsidies worth about 3.2 billion kroner (530 million dollars).

Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen has, meanwhile, instructed members of his government to refrain from discussions or negotiations on Greenland during the pending election campaign, KNR reported, citing a letter sent to cabinet members.


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