In brief

Constitution of Greenland begins parliamentary process

First draft speaks of “sovereign state”, does not specify whether it will be completely separated from Denmark

Kim Kielsen, president del Parlament, amb un exemplar de l'esborrany a la mà.
Kim Kielsen, president del Parlament, amb un exemplar de l'esborrany a la mà. Author: Inatsisartut
Greenland's Parliament has received the draft constitution an ad hoc committee set up in 2017 has prepared since. Greenlandic MPs will now need to debate the contents of this text which, according to the pro-independence majority in Parliament, should be the gateway to a Greenlandic state.

The draft does not specify crucial aspects of the future state, such as what form of government it should have —monarchy or republic— or whether it should be completely independent of Denmark. The preamble speaks of a “sovereign state” while article 1 refers to a “state with sovereignty”. Greenlandic is the only official language proposed.

The draft also foresees that the country may delegate some powers to other states or international organisations. This proposal could be consistent with an idea that has been circulating on the island for some years, according to which a future sovereign Greenland could be constituted as a state in free association with Denmark.

The two main pro-independence parties (Siumut and IA) have welcomed the presentation of the draft, which they see as a first step towards sovereignty. In contrast, the third pro-independence party, Naleraq, considers the drafting process to have been inadequate and criticises IA’s willingness to lower the goal of full independence.

Since 2009, Greenland’s Self-Government Act grants the country powers close to full internal self-government, gives it the capacity to establish international relations, and recognises its right to self-determination, including independence.