Date: Tue, 23 Feb 1999 21:56:13 -0600 (CST)
From: Michael Eisenscher <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Greenland PM Turns to Marxists
COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP)—Greenland's home-rule government shifted leftward Monday when the social-democrat premier formed a new governing alliance with a Marxist party.
The move came five days after elections on the world's largest island, a Danish territory that has had substantial autonomy for the last 20 years.
Under the new coalition, Jonathan Motzfeldt of the Siumut party remains as prime minister. But Siumut's old coalition partner, the liberal Atassut, was replaced by the Inuit Ataqatigiit party.
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 and to ensure what Inuit Ataqatigiit leader Josef Motzfeldt called ``Greenland's equal and free position in the union with Denmark.''
Josef Motzfeldt will be minister for economy, tax and trade in the new government.
Greenland's 55,000 people rely heavily on subsidies from the Danish government amounting to about 60 percent of the island's revenue.
Other points on the new government's agenda include improvement of housing and hospitals. Greenland has an acute shortage of doctors and nurses.
Since 1979, the Danish government has controlled Greenland's defense, foreign policy and law-enforcement, while the home-rule government handles most other matters.