Copenhagen (dpa) - The people of self-ruling Greenland were to go to the polls March 12, three months before the legislature‘s term ends, amid growing interest for the sparsely populated island‘s natural resources.

Greenland Premier Kuupik Kleist, who heads a three-party coalition, announced the election date late Thursday.

A 2008 referendum expanded the home rule system to self-rule the following year, but Denmark has kept overall responsibility for foreign policy and defence.

With its population of about 50,000 people, Greenland hopes that finds of oil, gas and minerals will help secure full autonomy from Denmark in the future.

In September, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak signed a mineral extraction deal with the Greenland government. dpa tbo lsm mga Author: Lennart Simonsson