Mercelina cabinet invokes Article 59 to dissolve Parliament, call snap elections

Mercelina cabinet invokes Article 59 to dissolve Parliament, call snap elections
Prime Minister Dr. Luc Mecelina (at podium) addressing the media, while members of the Council of Ministers look on.
~Cabinet to submit resignations to Governor~
PHILIPSBURG--The Mercelina Cabinet has invoked Article 59 of the constitution to dissolve the Parliament of St. Maarten and call snap elections.
  The decision was made in reaction to the governing coalition losing its support on Monday when Member of Parliament (MP) Kevin Maingrette pulled his support and signed a new coalition agreement with the National Alliance (NA) and the United People’s (UP) party.
  The snap election is expected to cost the country approximately NAf. 500,000. “I am convinced that by a upcoming elections the people will have a firm standpoint about what they want for the future of their country and to do that I have invoked yesterday, article 59 of the Constitution of Country St Maarten. And I have sent Article 59 in a decree to the governor for ratification for us to be able to dissolve Parliament [and -Ed.] for us to be able to organize a snap election as soon as possible for country St Maarten,” Mercelina told reporters at a press conference on Tuesday, where all ministers provided a state of affairs of their respective ministries. Justice Minister Lyndon Lewis was not present at the briefing.
  Asked by a member of the media whether the Governor is prepared to sign the decree, Mercelina responded affirmatively. “Yes, the governor is ready. He told me he has no other choice. He understands my position and now before signing, we just have to agree on the dates matching it with the demands of the constitution for us to stay in the framework of respecting our constitution, but still seeing that we accommodate all of the phases heading towards election and once we have the dates set we will be able to sign because the governor gave me already the consent that he realises that we have no choice than to move forward with the snap election,” explained the Prime Minister.
  Asked by this newspaper why call elections when there is a new majority in Parliament and given that the country is cash strapped, he said:
  “It is choosing between two bad things. If you’re talking about a bankrupt country and you’re talking about the price tag [for elections], I had two choices - give the country back to a government that has severely depleted the coffers of this country or pay a price to get back a great government to move forward this country. So, the price that I am going to pay for this election is going to be much else than giving the former government again four years to govern this country. That is a decision that I made.”
  Mercelina said the decision to call for snap election was not taken lightly.
  “It was a difficult decision and challenge for the Prime Minister to do that, but I do believe the situation that the people of St Maarten are in now - the suffering and the challenges of the people of this country there is no other option to show politicians with the formula of actually functioning by putting self above country, leave egoism control them, greediness control them this is the moment that I am handing over a tool to the people of this country for them to decide what they will do with those politicians,” said Mercelina.
 He made clear that he is not playing around with his commitment to St Maarten. “We have of course deliberation and contact already with the governor and of course with the Central Voting Bureau already because this Dr Mercelina is not joking with his commitment for the people of this country.”
  The decision to invoke Article 59 was taken collectively. “It’s not alone that I invoked article 59, but with that I dissolved Parliament and I am already working with the governor and the Central Voting Bureau to come to an agreement on the specific date to call a new election. We have some challenges because it is a short notice. We have to take into consideration the date for registration of political parties’, we have to respect that in our democracy, we have to consider the date for the postulation and the day after the nomination of course. We have to determine the day after nomination. We have to determine the day of election and of course the time span between election and instalment of a new Parliament. These are details that the way we are working, we will be able to solve at a short notice for us to proceed with a snap election for country St Maarten.
  “I reiterate that the people of St Maarten are aware that the move that took place yesterday [Monday] has not been motivated by the bigger picture of putting country above self. Not being motivated by the drive to improve and prosper the livelihood of the people of St Maarten and that is the reason that I’m handing over this tool of giving the populace of St Maarten the opportunity to show the people of St Maarten that we are serious people and we have a vision and a mission for this country,” he explained.
  He said the breaking of government came from left field. “We are surprised by a development in Parliament that a Member of Parliament has retracted his support from this government. Out of my heart I am informing you that this has been a surprise for all coalition partners forming this government. You cannot in 18 days in government have a total impression and feeling about the functioning of a government that comes in and encounters a ravage and a bankrupt status of a country. For in 18 days to make the conclusion that you feel yourself uncomfortable with people that are working day and night the past 18 days to make this country a great country again,” he said.
  In the meantime, members of the Mercelina cabinet were expected to submit their resignations to the governor on Tuesday.
The Daily Herald

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