Greenland’s Rare-Earth Election – by Robinson Meyer (The Atlantic – May 3, 2021)

A vote last month answered an important question about the world’s largest island.

Tunulliarfik Fjord has always played an outsize role in global history. One thousand years ago, the Viking Erik the Red settled there, the last outpost in the Norse expansion into North America.

When the United States established a protectorate over Greenland during World War II, it built one of its first airports in what is now Narsarsuaq, a large town on the fjord. And now Tunulliarfik is the site of a mining project that has overturned politics on Greenland.

Since 1979, the ruling Siumut party has dominated Greenland’s elections; in all those years it has lost power only once, in 2009, after the island reformed its government and loosened ties with Denmark, which has ruled it for three centuries.
Earlier this month, the democratic-socialist Inuit Ataqatigiit party (IA), Greenlandic for “Community for the People,” won an election with more than a third of the vote, after centering its campaign on a promise to cancel the controversial mining project.

Greenland, the world’s largest island, is populated by about 56,000 people, and its election is, in some ways, an extremely local story. The mining project is called Kvanefjeld, and it would excavate thorium, uranium, and rare-earth elements.

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