Greenland is in Nordic terms an independent area of the Danish Kingdom and is governed by the Danish constitution.
The Greenlandic political system consists of two levels: 1) The Home Rule Government which consists of the legislative Landsting and the executive branch (Landsstyre), and 2) the municipal level.
Greenland’s home Rule Ordinance enacted in 1979 is a political compromise between Greenland and Denmark. It requires that Greenland – politically and administratively – takes control of Greenlandic affairs with the exception of the judicial branch, and foreign and defense policies. Greenland’s natural raw resources are controlled in a collaboration between Greenland and Denmark.
Greenland has since 1953, during its growth away from its status as a Danish colony, been represented in the Danish Parliament with two elected members.
Elections for the 31 members of Landsting are held every fourth year in Greenland. In all there are 18 municipalities each with a municipal board located in a main city which thus functions as the administrative and governing center. The municipal independence with the attendant right to collect taxes results in a decentralized distribution of federal duties, for example in, public schooling and tasks in the social and cultural areas as well as the responsibility for running and administering settlements.
A viable political clustering was first formed in the middle of the 1970s and has formed the backdrop for the present multi party system. There are today four larger political parties: 1) the center, fatherland minded social democrat party Siumut which was the driving force during the establishment of home rule 2) the pro-Eskimo, anti-colonial leftist party Inuit Ataqatigitt which supports independence for Greenland 3) the liberal socialist Demokraterne (The Democrats), and 4) the liberal national party Atassut with its ticket of fellowship with Denmark and opposition to separation. Recently the party Kattusseqa- tigiit Partiiat has attempted to gather members based on a broad platform. In addition, a number of parties of shorter life spans have been established since the establishment of home rule including: Issittup Partiia, Akulliit Partiiat and Arnat Partiiat.
Since the establishment of home rule, the Siumut party has constantly maintained a ruling majority in coalition with and support from various other parties (Atassut and Inuit Ataqatigiit). From the 1990s, the major political agenda item has been Greenland’s independence. After a purely Greenlandic commission studying independence published its results in 2003, a Danish/Greenlandic independence commission began working on a revision of home rule law within the kingdom which resulted in a compromise solution between Greenland and Denmark regarding issues which place the authority for foreign and defense policy, and deals with questions regarding natural underground resources and Greenlanders’ civil rights and equality as a people.