In brief

Faroese constitutional referendum unlikely to be held in the short term

Vote was foreseen in 2018, parties unable to agree on wording of legislative text

Faroese flag.
Faroese flag. Author: Arne List @ Flickr
A referendum to approve the first-ever Constitution of the Faroe Islands, which was to be held in 2018, appears unlikely in the short term, according to sources from the Nordic archipelago. The committee in charge of finding a consensus on a draft legislative text that was submitted in 2017 to the islands’ Parliament, or Løgting, has not been able to agree on it. At the same time, the Faroese government has prioritized other issues, such as taking over family law powers, passing same-sex marriage and gender equality measures, and reforming fishing regulations in order to make the industry more sustainable.

One of the problems while discussing the text was how to set the Faroese constitution in agreement with the Danish Constitution.

Passing its own Constitution would have opened the legal door for Faroese independence from Denmark.

With a Faroese parliamentary election being scheduled for summer 2019 at the latest, not enough time is now left to agree on the text and to call the vote.

The Faroese government is currently made up by two pro-independence parties (Republic and Progress) plus a third one which supports continued ties with Denmark (Social Democratic Party). Republic leader Høgni Hoydal said ensuring enlarged self-government for the Faroe Islands will be one of his party’s priorities for the next legislative term. On the other hand, social democratic voters are quite divided over the need to change the current status quo.