Early elections on Curaçao

The draft constitution for the new country Curaçao did not pass an important local hurdle early Saturday morning, when it was two votes short of the number required for approval by the Island Council.

Curaçao is now preparing for early Island Council elections that may be held in late August or early September.

Only 12 votes were cast in favour of the constitution around 5:00am, two votes short of the required two-thirds majority. Nine votes were cast against the approval of the constitution that would be the foundation of Country Curaçao, which is to be birthed on 10-10-10.

The draft constitution will be tabled in the reconstituted Island Council for approval. At that time it will only require a simple majority for adoption. However, the present Island Council must be dissolved first, followed by early Island Council elections and formation of a new coalition. The Executive Council now has to decide how to proceed with the draft constitution for Country Curaçao and preparing for elections.

It is considered "early elections" because the current term of the Island Council constitutionally runs until July 2011, but based on Duncan's Law published last week, it is now possible to dissolve the Island Council early.

Apart from the coalition members, Aldebert Rooijer voted in favour of the constitution. Rooijer said he had voted with his conscience and not "with the coalition" which, according to him, would suggest a compromise between him and the coalition parties.

\"That is absolutely out of the question. The mentality and conduct of the coalition parties is not in keeping with my preferences. I see no further challenges in NPA now that Nelson Pierre has announced he will withdraw from politics," he said.

A possible positive outcome of the recent marathon meeting of the council is the fact it is now confirmed that elections will be held before 10-10-10. En route to the elections, it will probably become clear this week when the Island Council meeting will be held to deal with the dissolution of the present council.

It seems unlikely the current PAR/PNP/FOL coalition will win sufficient votes to remain in the administrative saddle. If the result of the most recent parliamentary elections is simply continued, then it's possible that PAR will expand, while PNP and FOL will become smaller and perhaps not even win a seat in the Island Council.

Gerrit Schotte, as leader of his own party in the elections or as number two on the list of an existing party could certainly pull a lot of votes, and Pueblo Soberano (PS) is in good shape. New political party País of former state secretary Alex Rosaria is also expected to do well in the elections, while MAN, NPA and FK are sitting on the fence.

Supporters of the draft Constitution were not found only in the Island Council. Lobby group Kousa Komún wrote to all council members requesting that they vote in favour of adopting the constitution as "a right of the Curaçao population," although the group also stated that there is "uncertainty amongst the population due to unfamiliarity with the contents" of the constitution.

PNP Party leader Gimena van de Gen argued that "the Country Curaçao deserves that its sons – members of the Island Council – adopt its constitution with a two-thirds majority" as this is an important step to fulfil the referendum wish as expressed by the people in April 2005. MAN leader Charles Cooper, who voted against the constitution in its present form, said certain points indeed required changing.
Independent Councilman Norbet George accused "certain media" of prejudice in their reports on the constitution. According to him, this ruins the atmosphere and does not advance unanimity.

21 June 2010

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