Parties seeking independence from Denmark captured 19 out of 33 seats in the Faroese legislative election which was held on September 1st. The result is likely to lead to a change of government, in which conservative parties could be replaced by a new leftist coalition. Independence, however, was not a major campaign issue, and indeed the next government could be made up of both Faroese pro-independence and unionist parties.
The Social Democratic Party emerged as the single largest party, with 25.1% of the votes and 8 seats. It is likely that its leader Aksel Johannesen becomes the next Faroese prime minister. To this, the social democrats will need to reach an agreement with at least two other parties. As regards the left-right axis, the most obvious candidate for a deal is the leftist pro-independence Republic party, which became the second strongest one, with 20.8% of the votes and 7 MPs.
Both main conservative parties lost ground. Pro-independence Popular Party and pro-Danish Union Party lost 2 seats each and could only retain 6 each. Faroese PM and Union Party member Kaj Leo Johannesen had been going through difficult times after opposition parties blamed him for lying as regards the exact terms of a public contract for the construction of a tunnel connecting two islands.
The 6 remaining seats were distributed among three smaller pro-independence parties: Progress (Liberal), the Centre Party (Conservative) and the Self-determination Party (Social Liberal), each capturing 2 seats.
Despite having a clear majority in Parliament, pro-independence parties do not agree on how and when a Faroese sovereign state should be proclaimed. On one side, some fear the economic consequences that could cause losing the grant that Denmark sends anually to the Faroe -some 10% of the islands' public budget, even if the share had been larger years ago. On the other, doubts remain about what the pace should be like -faster or slower- in the road towards full independence.
(Image: Faroese Parliament.)