Faroe Islands. In March, the Faroe Islands and Denmark
made joint demands on a zone south of the Faroe Islands,
where the seabed is believed to hide large reserves of gas
and oil. The demands were submitted in New York to the UN
agency CLCS, the Commission for the Continental Shelf
Borders. The UK, Ireland and Iceland also consider
themselves entitled to the area, which encompasses thousands
of square miles and could have great economic significance
in the future. The dispute must be settled by the CLCS.
In May, the Faroe Islands voted by 15 votes to 14 through
a draft constitution for the kingdom. The disputed proposal,
which was processed and debated for over nine years, had
then been revised so that it would not mean that the Faroe
Islands were detached from Denmark.
But the Danish government was not satisfied. Prime
Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen explained in July that the
proposal was contrary to the Danish Constitution and could
result in the end of the national community between Denmark
and the Faroe Islands (and Greenland).
The Danish play prompted the Faroe Islands' government
chief, Kaj Leo Johannesen, to immediately withdraw the
proposal. His right-wing party, the Sambandspartiet, has
traditionally protected the national community with Denmark.
In the October general election, the Union Party was
successful and increased by a mandate to 8, while the
Independent Party Republican returned with 2 seats and
stayed at 6. The election result was a clue to voters 'views
on the Faroe Islands' future. Another party that wants to
proceed cautiously on the issue of independence, the
People's Party, also increased with a mandate to 8. Also the
newly formed Progress Party, which took 2 mandates, protects
the cooperation with Denmark. The Social Democrats, who
occupy a middle position, retained their 6 seats.
The sitting minority coalition with the Unionist Party
and the Social Democrats dissolved after the election.
However, Kaj Leo Johannesen continued as a layman, and in
November he formed a bourgeois coalition with the Union
Party, the People's Party and the small parties Center Party
and the Self-Government Party. The new coalition gained a
majority with 19 of the Lagting's 33 seats. In the Danish
parliamentary elections in September, the two Faroese
mandates went to the Sambandspartiet and the Social