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Faroe Islands

Yearbook 2008

Faroe Islands. The January election did not result in any major changes in the Lagting. But the left-leaning opposition party Republicans came forward with a mandate and demanded a seat in the self-government. Negotiations led to the bourgeois Union Party and the People's Party in opposition, while the Social Democrats instead formed a new coalition with the Republicans and the Center Party. Social Democrats leader Joannes Eidesgaard continued as head of government. The majority of the new coalition was scarce, 17 out of 33 seats.

The government program included a plan for continued takeover of political responsibility from Denmark, an annual reduction of Denmark's financial contribution and a 2010 referendum on a constitution for an independent Faroe Islands.

During the summer, the Faroe Islands' unemployment was reported to be 1.1 percent, a historic bottom record.

The self-government government lost its majority in July when the coalition could not agree on a timetable for the Faroe Islands' largest tunnel construction to date. A Social Democratic Lagtings member who fought for the tunnel to his home island Sandoy withdrew his support for the coalition.

After the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) warned of fishing, the government proposed halving the number of fishing days for certain vessels. The coalition disagreed and a government crisis was imminent. After vigorous protests from the fishermen of the island, the coalition was satisfied with a 20 percent reduction.

In September, however, the coalition broke out after a bitter dispute between lawmaker Joannes Eidesgaard and Republican leader Høgni Hoydal over the use of the premises in the government office. A new self-government government was formed by Liberal Union Party leader Kaj Leo Johannsen with ministers from his own party and from the Social Democrats and the Conservative People's Party.

When Iceland got into a severe financial crisis during the autumn, the Faroe Islands offered a loan of DKK 300 million. The self-government government justified the decision with the special ties between the Faroe Islands and Iceland.

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