Exactly one month before they are to take place, voters in Curaçao still don’t know whether the elections scheduled for April 28 will continue. The recently installed MFK/KdNT/PS/MP/Braam government that was supposed to have an interim status insists on delaying the vote until the European Court reacts to a complaint against the manner in which the outgoing Koeiman Cabinet had dissolved Parliament and called a snap election, despite the existence of a new majority.
However, a national decree adopted last Friday for that purpose would have to be signed into law by Governor Lucille George-Wout to become effective. She may instead send it to the Kingdom Council of Ministers for annulment and the latter is likely to comply, considering the position of Dutch Kingdom Relations Minister Ronald Plasterk that there was nothing wrong with allowing the dissolution of the legislature.
The Supreme Electoral Council has meanwhile been instructed to cease its preparations for an early return to the polls by ministerial decree of Administration, Planning and Service Minister Norberto Ribeiro. The Council now intends to appeal this order via an Administrative Justice LAR procedure.
In addition, hundreds of citizens have joined a class action suit to be filed in local court, demanding the elections continue as planned. After all, expectations were created, while 14 candidate lists had been submitted and the applicable fees paid.
Eight parties with current representation in Parliament qualified automatically, but the other six needed to go through a pre-election round in which three obtained enough voter support to be on the ballot. Stopping the election at this late stage is seen especially by them as highly unfair and failing to meet commitments made.
One thing’s for sure. All this back and forth, similar to what happened in St. Maarten at the end of 2015, is definitely not promoting public confidence in the political process on the islands, which is already at a low point.
Simply put, it’s bad for democracy.