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Greenland votes on big step towards independence

Greenland votes on big step towards independence
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People in Greenland are voting in a referendum on self-governance that would make it all but independent from Denmark.

The vast Arctic land mass has had home rule since 1979 but under the proposed law change it would eventually become responsible for 32 areas of governance, including justice and legal affairs.
It would also have control over mineral and oil resources.

A “Yes” vote would see Greenlandic become the official language of the island. The country would still be part of the Kingdom of Denmark, but Copenhagen has said Greenlanders can ultimately decide to cut the final ties between the two countries after nearly 300 years of Danish rule

A recent poll showed most of the island’s 57,000 inhabitants favoured more autonomy, but some feel it is too soon for complete independence.

“I just don’t think we’re ready for it. The economy must be up and running before we can take that decision”, said one woman ahead of the vote.

Greenland is dependent on Danish subsidies that account for about 30 percent of its gross domestic product.

Fishing and tourism are the main industries but the country has huge potential oil wealth, which it has agreed to split equally with Denmark.

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