Social Democrats get largest share of Faeroe Islands vote

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — The opposition social democrats received the largest share of votes in an early parliamentary election held on the Faeroe Islands, a semi-independent Danish territory in the North Atlantic, according to Faeroese broadcaster Kringvarp Føroya.

With 100% of the votes counted, the Javnaðarflokkurin, or Equality Party, received 27% of the vote. Incumbent Premier Bárður á Steig Nielsen’s liberal Sambandsflokkurin — Unionist Party — and the conservative Fólkaflokkurin, or People’s Party, received 20% and 18.9%, respectively.

It was unclear which party would attempt to form a government. The head of Javnaðarflokkurin, Aksel V. Johannesen, has said he could work with both the conservatives from Sambandspartiet and with the left-leaning Tjóðveldi, or Republic Party, which grabbed 17.7% of the vote, Danish broadcaster DR said. The latter wants the rocky, 18-island archipelago to become independent of Denmark.

The social democrats will have nine seats in the new 33-seat parliament while Sambandspartiet and Tjóðveldi has six and seven seats, respectively. Fólkaflokkurin, which won the 2019 election, lost two seats and now will have six.

The Christian Democratic Midflokkurin secured 6.6% of the vote, enough to keep its two seats in the Lagting legislature. The party was the reason á Steig Nielsen called Thursday’s election election on Nov. 9.

The premier had led a three-party governing coalition with with Fólkaflokkurin and Midflokkurin since 2019. He called the election two days after firing Faroese Foreign Affairs Minister Jenis av Rana of Midflokkurin for saying he would not support a gay candidate becoming Denmark’s prime minister.

Denmark held a general election on Nov. 1, and government formation talks are ongoing.

Av Rana pulled his party out of the center-right coalition governing the Faeroe Islands, costing the governing coalition its 17-seat parliamentary majority. Although same-sex marriage has been legal in the Faeroe Islands since July 2017, homosexuality remains a sensitive issue on the islands.

The Faeroe Islands are a semi-autonomous Danish territory located between Scotland and Iceland with their own parliament and government. They send two lawmakers to the Danish parliament to represent the volcanic archipelago that is home to 49,000 people.

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