Kingdom laws in Senate July 6

THE HAGUE--The Dutch First Chamber, the Senate, is aiming to handle the ten Kingdom Consensus Laws in a plenary meeting on July 6.

That is the commitment of the Senate's Permanent Committee for Antillean and Aruban Affairs NAAZ, which met on Tuesday. The date of July 6 was set on the condition that only one written round is needed.

Parties in the First Chamber have until June 8 to submit written responses to the Kingdom Consensus Laws, which include the changes to the Kingdom Charter. The laws are necessary to dismantle the country the Netherlands Antilles and to establish Countries Curaçao and St. Maarten and create the "public entities" Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba.

If Dutch Minister of Justice Ernst Hirsch Ballin and State Secretary for Kingdom Relations Ank Bijleveld-Schouten respond satisfactorily to the questions in time, the verbal conclusion can take place July 6.

Unlike the Second Chamber, the Senate doesn't have the right of amendment, meaning that it can't change laws. Law proposals can be either approved or rejected. In the latter case, the law proposals will be sent back to the Second Chamber. No delays are expected, considering the political relations in the First Chamber.

After the Senate has approved the Kingdom Consensus Laws, the Parliaments of the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba have to approve the changes to the Charter by means of a federal ordinance. No second round will be necessary if this happens with a two-thirds majority. If there is a simple majority, there will have to be a second voting within a month.

Because of the time pressure, it was decided during Tuesday's political meeting between the Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, Curaçao and St. Maarten to start preparations relating to the federal ordinance from now, so this law proposal can be submitted to the Parliaments shortly after July 6.

The Second Chamber will have final say on the Kingdom Consensus Law to change the Charter shortly before the final Round Table Conference (RTC) in The Hague on September 9. The new relations in the Kingdom should go into effect October 10, 2010.

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