Published On: Mon, Mar 6th, 2017

Political turmoil

Parliament1Curaçao’s Parliament has passed a motion asking the government of caretaker Prime Minister Hensley Koeiman (MAN) to withdraw today, Monday, at the latest its national decree dissolving the legislature and calling snap elections (see related story).

If not, the “new majority” expects Governor Lucille George-Wout to send the decree she herself had signed into law up to the Kingdom Council of Ministers for annulment.

The issue is also of importance to St. Maarten not just because the two autonomous countries within the Dutch Kingdom are in a monetary union together with a shared Central Bank and joint Attorney-General. After all, it was the William Marlin Cabinet I in Philipsburg that first replaced a similar decree of the then-outgoing Marcel Gumbs Cabinet with another one to effectively postpone the elections that, however, were still two years early when they finally did take place last September.

The intended MFK/KdNT/PS/MP/Braam/Dannawi coalition is going a step further by wanting to not only move the date, but basically cancel the snap elections and go back to the regular schedule at the end of the current governing term in 2020. It will be interesting to see how this matter is handled in the days to come.

Somewhat ironically, the same majority had proposed that the governor charge former PS minister Ruthmilda Larmonie-Cecilia with forming a new interim cabinet to run the country until the next government takes office following the April 28 vote. It now appears the incoming coalition no longer wants its cabinet to have that transitional status, leaving some doubt as to exactly what the task of this “formateur” would be.

These developments again illustrate the constitutional stalemate that can occur when a government loses its majority legislative backing and is forced to resign, but still sends home Parliament even though a different majority has indicated its willingness to establish a new coalition. As long as no clarity on the use of that possibility is provided, one must fear continued political turmoil on both islands.

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