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Faroe Islands to hold election after minister sacked for homophobia

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Faroe Islands to hold election after minister sacked for homophobia
People enter a polling station in the Faroe Islands to vote in the Danish parliamentary election on October 31st. The nation will now hold its own election for parliament. Photo: Álvur Haraldsen/Ritzau Scanpix

The prime minister of the Faroe Islands called for early elections Wednesday after sacking a minister over homophobic comments caused him to lose his majority in the local parliament.

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"After meticulous examination and consulting party heads, I have reached the decision it is time to call for parliamentary elections" on December 8th, Prime Minister Bardur a Steig Nielsen said.

The premier on Tuesday sacked his foreign minister Jenis av Rana over homophobic remarks, causing the Christian party he heads to withdraw from the ruling coalition in the local parliament.

The islands in the North Atlantic, an autonomous part of the Kingdom of Denmark, have a local parliament, as well as two seats in the 179-seat Danish parliament.

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During the run-up to the Danish parliamentary polls last week, av Rana sparked controversy by saying that he could not back the head of Denmark's Conservatives Søren Pape Poulsen if he became prime minister because he was gay.

Negotiations to form the new Danish government are ongoing, but Poulsen is now out of the running to become PM after his party performed poorly in the election.

A few days ago, av Rana then again stirred debate by opposing double-barrelled surnames for the children of lesbian couples.

Home to some 54,000 inhabitants, the Faroe Islands have been largely autonomous from Denmark since 1948.

They are still highly dependent on fishing and have an autonomous commercial policy, but are not part of the European Union.

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