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Greenland OKs New Government

March 10, 1999

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) _ Greenland’s parliament on Tuesday approved the coalition government of Premier Jonathan Motzfeldt, whose alliance includes a Marxist party.

Motzfeldt, of the social democratic Siumut party, kept his job following last month’s elections on the world’s largest island, a Danish territory that has had substantial autonomy for the last 20 years.

The seven-member Cabinet included five Siumut ministers. The Marxist Inuit Ataqatigiit party holds two posts.

The parties agreed to carry out a tax reform aimed at attracting more investors to Greenland and to create ``a more socially balanced society.″

Although Inuit Ataqatigiit is strongly independence-minded, Siumut has refused to discuss full separation from Denmark and the policy is not expected to change in the new coalition.

However, the new government plans to form a committee examining Greenland’s relationship to Denmark which ``must be based on mutual respect and cooperation,″ according to an agreement signed by both party leaders.

The committee will examine whether Greenland can obtain more say in foreign and defense matters that are handled by Copenhagen under Greenland’s home-rule agreement.

The island’s 55,000 people rely heavily on subsidies from the Danish government amounting to about 60 percent of the island’s revenue.

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