Published On: Wed, Feb 15th, 2017

If at all possible

Gilmer-Pik-Pisas-Chester-Peterson-Staten-Yves-CooperIt happened once before with a then Central Government of the – since dismantled – Netherlands Antilles, but the latest precedents were set in Willemstad in 2012 and Philipsburg in 2015. It regards a Council of Ministers, having lost majority legislative support, dissolving Parliament and calling early elections.

In both latter cases there was a “new majority” willing to form another government. Still, Governors Goedgedrag and Holiday respectively only allowed them to install an interim cabinet, pending snap elections. Many scholars disagree with this use of the “dissolution” by national decree option in the two Constitutions, arguing that the majority of elected representatives should always prevail in a parliamentary democracy.

One question is whether Governors ought to sign such a draft decree if they already know a new coalition has been formed. The fact is that they have the authority to do so or not, in which case it would ultimately have to be submitted to the Kingdom Council of Ministers for annulment.

The current new MFK/KdNT/PS/MP/Braam majority in Curaçao wants to delay the snap elections tentatively scheduled for April 28 at least for a while and appoint an interim government. They point to St. Maarten, where early elections signed for by the Governor when the William Marlin Cabinet I was installed were later postponed several months.

It’s high time people of the Dutch Caribbean are provided with some clarity on this continuing controversy to prevent similar political stalemates and their negative impact on governing the countries concerned in the future; for example, by having St. Maarten’s Constitutional Court or the Council of State in The Hague give a ruling on the matter, if at all possible.

The Daily Herald

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