The politics of the Faroe Islands, an autonomous country (Danish: land) of the Kingdom of Denmark, function within the framework of a parliamentary, representative democratic dependency, whereby the Prime Minister of the Faroe Islands is the head of government,[1] and of a multi-party system. The Faroe Islands are politically associated with the Kingdom of Denmark but have been self-governing since 1948. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the Løgting. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature and the responsibility of Denmark. As of October 25, 2007, the Faroe Islands became one electoral district.

Executive branch

Main office-holders
Office Name Party Since
Queen Margrethe II of Denmark 14 January 1972
High Commissioner Lene Moyell Johansen May 15, 2017
Prime Minister Bárður á Steig Nielsen Union Party 16 September 2019

The high commissioner is appointed by the Monarch of Denmark. The High Commissioner has a seat in the Løgting, with the ability to speak in the Løgting regarding common Danish/Faroese affairs, but is unable to vote.[2] Following legislative elections, the leader of the party that wins the most seats is usually given the initiative to establish a new coalition by the Faroese Parliament, unless the current Løgmaður (Prime Minister in English) is still in power. However, if he or she fails, the Chairman of the parliament asks all chairmen of the parties elected to the parliament, and asks them to point to another chairman who they feel can rightly form a new coalition. The chairman with the most votes is then handed the initiative. After forming the coalition, the Løgmaður leads the landsstýri. The landsstýri will often consist of around 7 members. The coalition parties divide the various ministries among themselves and after this, the parties elect their representative to these ministries. Any other member of the cabinet is called a landsstýrismaður if the person is a man, or landsstýriskvinna if the person is a woman. The word ráðharri is also used for a member of the cabinet, i.e. mentamálaráðharri (minister of culture) or heilsumálaráðharri (minister of health).

Current government

Following the 2019 Faroese general election, a new government, consisting of three parties (Union Party, People's Party, and Centre Party) under Prime Minister Bárður á Steig Nielsen[3] was created

Minister Party Since
Prime Minister Bárður á Steig Nielsen B 16 September 2019
Deputy Prime Minister Jørgen Niclasen FF 16 September 2019
Ministry Minister Party Since
Ministry of Finance Jørgen Niclasen FF 16 September 2019
Ministry of Health Kaj Leo Johannesen B 16 September 2019
Ministry of Education and Foreign Affairs Jenis av Rana MF 16 September 2019
Ministry of Fisheries Jacob Vestergaard FF 16 September 2019
Ministry of Social Affairs Elsebeth Mercedis Gunnleygsdóttir FF 16 September 2019
Minister of Environment, Industry and Trade Helgi Abrahamsen B 16 September 2019

Legislative branch

The Faroese Parliament (Løgtingið in Faroese) has 33 MPs (members of parliament), elected for a four-year term by proportional representation.

Election of 2 seats to the Danish Parliament was last held the 5th of June 2019: Social Democrat 1, Unionist 1.

Political parties and elections

For other political parties, see List of political parties in the Faroe Islands. An overview on elections and election results is included in Elections in the Faroe Islands.

The Faroe Islands have a multi-party system (disputing on independence and unionism as well as left and right), with numerous parties in which no one party often has a chance of gaining power alone, and parties must work with each other to form coalition governments. The Faroese Parliament (Løgting) has 33 seats. Members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms. For the Løgting elections, there were seven electoral districts, each one comprehending asýslur, while Streymoy is divided into northern and southern parts (Tórshavn region), but since 2008, the Faroes constitute a single district.[4]

Schematic depiction of the political party spectrum in the Faroe Islands. Fólkaflokkurin (A): People's PartySambandsflokkurin (B): Union PartyJavnaðarflokkurin (C): Social Democratic PartySjálvstýri (D): Self-GovernmentTjóðveldi (E): RepublicFramsókn (F): ProgressMiðflokkurin (H): Centre Party
Schematic depiction of the political party spectrum in the Faroe Islands.
Løgting 2019.svg
People's Party8,29024.548+2
Social Democratic Party7,48022.147–1
Union Party6,87420.357+1
Centre Party1,8155.3720
Cannabis Initiative3100.920New
Faroese Party1670.490New
Valid votes33,77999.56
Invalid/blank votes1500.44
Total votes33,929100.00
Registered voters/turnout37,82789.70
Source: KVF

Administrative divisions

The islands are administratively divided into 29 municipalities with about 120 cities and villages.

Traditionally, there are also the 6 sýslur (Norðoyar, Eysturoy, Streymoy, Vágar, Sandoy, and Suðuroy). Sýsla means district and although it is only a police district today, it is still commonly understood as a geographical region. In earlier times, each sýsla had its own ting, the so-called várting (spring ting).

International affairs

The nation continues to be intimately tied with the Nordic countries of Europe and the European Union.

Mission of the Faroe Islands in Reykjavik, Iceland
Mission of the Faroe Islands in Reykjavik, Iceland

Along with diplomatic missions to Iceland, the Court of St. James's (United Kingdom), Russia, and the European Union,[5] the Faroe Islands participate in the Nordic Council, NIB, International Maritime Organization, International Whaling Commission (Complete list of participation of the Faroe Islands in international organisations).

Further reading

  • Debes, Hans Jacob. 1988. "Reflections on the Position, Participation and Co-Operation of Small Nations in International Politics Case The Faroe Islands". Nordic Journal of International Law. 573: 365–368.

See also


  1. ^ ", Prime Minister's Office, Government".
  2. ^ ", the website of the High Commissioner of the Faroe Islands, as part of the Danish Prime Minister's Office".
  3. ^ "Faroe Islands Parliamentary Election - September 1, 2015".
  4. ^, 5 Uppskot til løgtingslóg um broyting í løgtingslóg um val til Føroya Løgting (in Faroese)
  5. ^ "Missions of the Faroes abroad, (without date)".