Dissolution decree amended, new election date August 19

Dissolution decree amended,  new election date August 19

PHILIPSBURG--Snap elections will now be held on August 19, according to an amended decree to dissolve the Parliament of St Maarten.

The new date of elections is one of several amendments made to the May 21 decree to dissolve Parliament from the Mercelina cabinet. According to the amendments, elections will be on August 19, Nomination Day on July 2 and Parliament will be dissolved on September 20 and have its first meeting on the same day.

The original decree had listed July 18 for the snap elections, May 31 for Nomination Day (Postulation Day) and the new Parliament to be sworn in by August 19.

Concerns had been expressed about the feasibility of the deadlines set in the original decree. Objections were also made by the Department of Civil Registry. It would be impossible to guarantee the required careful preparation and the orderly conduct of the elections.

In response to these concerns, government submitted revised dates on May 25 to still remain within the three-month period for calling elections as stipulated in the constitution.

According to the amended decree, in an effort to reach a practical solution within the framework of the constitution as well as the National Ordinance on the Registration and Financing of Political Parties and the Electoral Ordinance, consultation between the governor, the Prime Minister and Chairperson of the Central Voting Bureau took place on May 25. Parties examined all possible solutions.

It was concluded that due to the practical objections and capacity problems at the Civil Registry Department, there were serious objections that made it practically impossible to organise the elections carefully and responsibly within the originally prescribed period. Government was therefore forced to change the dates for nomination, voting and the first meeting of the newly elected parliament.

The government has taken into account the possibility for political parties to register and comply with the provisions prescribed in the electoral ordinance. The decision also takes into account the principle of the democratic constitutional state that an election, once called, cannot be reversed.

The present decision deviates from the period of no more than three months between the dissolution decision and the first meeting of the new Parliament. This deviation is not treated lightly by the government and such a deviation is only justified in very exceptional circumstances.

The Daily Herald

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