Published On: Thu, May 31st, 2018

IPKO considers formalizing election monitors’ presence

ElectionsTHE HAGUE - The four Parliaments in the Kingdom agreed on Wednesday to draft the rules and context for the presence of observers of the Kingdom at national elections in Aruba, Curaçao, St. Maarten and the Netherlands.

Observers from the Netherlands were present during the elections in St. Maarten in February this year, as well as in Curaçao in April 2017. Members of the Dutch Parliament Meta Meijer and Alexander Pechtold were in St. Maarten in February as observers, or as Pechtold put it “to learn.”

During Wednesday’s meeting of the Inter-Parliamentary Consultation of the Kingdom IPKO, Chairman Pechtold introduced the idea to set the rules for the presence of monitoring missions from the Kingdom at national elections.

St. Maarten delegation leader Sarah Wescot-Williams said that in principle St. Maarten did not object to having monitors and formalizing this matter. “If the countries find this desirable, it should be regulated, but not on an ad-hoc and random basis. We can’t have observers one time and not the next, or in one country and not another,” she said.

“We need to have a clear set of rules beforehand and not some kind of window dressing. It must be established clearly what the purpose of the observers is, and it has to be in a context with the agreement of all countries. During the last election, our government was nudged by the Dutch government into accepting observers. This matter has to be contextualized,” Wescot-Williams told The Daily Herald after the meeting.

Curaçao Member of Parliament (MP) Ana-Maria Pauletta said the experiences with having an international monitoring mission on the island during the April 2017 elections were good. At that time there were tensions in Curaçao.

Dutch delegation leader Senator Ruard Ganzevoort said his delegation was in favor of coming to an agreement about the presence of observers and formalizing the context in which these missions take place.

Dutch Senator Frank van Kappen mentioned the ample experience that the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has as election observers. He said it is easier and more logical to involve them in monitoring missions than, for example, the Council of Europe.

IPKO Chairman Pechtold said he was happy with the positive basic stance of the delegations for a Kingdom arrangement on this matter. It was agreed during Wednesday’s meeting that a proposal would be drafted to regulate monitoring missions at the national elections in the Kingdom countries and to discuss this proposal at the next IPKO meeting in January 2019.

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