Foreign minister faces vote of no confidence
A no-confidence motion will be filed against foreign affairs minister Jenis av Rana at the next parliamentary meeting.
The entire opposition is united, and government MP Johan Dahl says he will support the motion.
This comes after the minister said in a radio programme on Tuesday about the upcoming Danish general election that he does not wish to work with a homosexual Danish Prime Minister.
Here, he was allegedly referring to Søren Pape Poulsen, the leader of the Danish Conservative Party, who has openly declared that he is homosexual. Rana was asked:
“You say your party [centre-right party Miðflokkurin] supports a right-wing government in Denmark. Does this imply that you would be supporting a homosexual Prime Minister in Denmark?”
Rana's reply was: “I can only say what I would do. This would be out of the question.”
A general comment
In a follow-up interview in last night’s Dagur & Vika TV news programme, Rana said that he was speaking generally and was not referring to Søren Pape Poulsen.
“My answer related to the question: ‘would your party support a homosexual Prime Minister in Denmark?’ It wasn’t until afterwards that Søren Pape Poulsen’s name came up.”
He added that he regards homosexuality as being inconsistent with his core values and those of Miðflokkurin and that he continues to believe this view represents the majority view of the Faroese people.
“I don’t know Søren Pape Poulsen personally. I have no issue with him as a person and I wish him all the best. But let’s take Poulsen as an example here: nominating him as the next Prime Minister of Denmark would mean compromising the core Christian values of Miðflokkurin, and I would never do that.”
Aksel V. Johannesen, the leader of opposition party Javnaðarflokkurin said yesterday:
“Jenis represents the Faroes internationally. He says, as our foreign minister, that his view is consistent with the majority view of the Faroese people. That is not only untrue; it is also an unacceptable statement.”
The leader of opposition party Tjóðveldi, Høgni Hoydal, said:
“We want this vote of no confidence to highlight the importance of ministerial responsibility, in this case the responsibilities of a foreign minister whose comments should represent the Faroese people and not his personal views.”
Hoydal added that the vote of no confidence also reflects previous incidences in which the foreign minister has overstepped his ministerial authority.
Specifically, he was referring to a decision Rana made about a framework agreement with Iceland without consulting with the foreign affairs committee.
To this, Rana replied that his advisors repeatedly said there was no need for such consultation and that his decision was fully backed by the government.
Personal vs political views
Ruth Vang, the leader of opposition party Framsókn, said:
“Jenis av Rana is entitled to his personal views, but when our foreign minister disqualifies a man as a potential head of state due to the man’s sexual orientation, that is stepping over the line.”
Johan Dahl, an MP for government party Sambandsflokkurin, said:
“He made his comment, which is in stark opposition to the general view of the Faroese people, in his capacity as our foreign minister, not as a private individual, and that is clearly unacceptable.”
PM reprimands minister
The opposition says that unless the Prime Minister dismisses Rana immediately, a no-confidence vote will be filed at the next parliamentary meeting, which will be held shortly after the election.
Prime Minister Bárður á Steig Nielsen says he fully dissociates himself from Rana’s comment.
“I have given Jenis av Rana a reprimand and made it clear to him that his comment does not represent the general view of the people of the Faroe Islands."
When asked, considering that Rana’s comment has caused a stir not only in the Faroes but overseas too, whether he intends to dismiss his foreign minister, the Prime Minister had no direct answer, saying instead that the issue should be resolved in Parliament.
Translated by Prosa.fo.
More Faroese News in English.