Elections postponed until August 19 – StMaartenNews.com – News Views Reviews & Interviews

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PHILIPSBURG — In consultation with Acting Governor Emily Bird-Lake, the government has postponed the elections for a new parliament from July 19 until August 19. Postulation Day is now set for July 2 and the new parliament will be seated on September 20, while the current parliament will be dissolved on the same date.

In a national decree dated May 27, the Acting Governor and the Prime Minister motivate their decision to change the dates that were established in a decree dated May 21. They quote the concerns expressed by the Central Voting Bureau (CVB) in a letter dated May 23 about the feasibility to stick to the terms established in the electoral ordinance and the ordinance registration and finances political parties in combination with the 3-month term established in article 59 of the Constitution. Additional, there were practical concerns due to understaffing of the Civil Registry. “This made it impossible to guarantee the required careful preparation and the orderly course of the elections,” the decree states.

Based on the concerns of the CVB, the government came up with a new proposal but the CVB once more expressed its concerns. On May 25 the Acting Governor Bird-Lake met with Prime Minister Mercelina and CVB-chairlady Nathalie Tackling to discuss possible solutions. Their conclusion: practical concerns and capacity issues make it practically impossible to organize the elections in a responsible way. Hence the need to change the dates associated with the upcoming elections. The new dates make it possible for new political parties to register.

The decree also reacts to the return of MP Kevin Maingrette to the coalition of URSM, NOW, PFP and DP: “The principle of the democratic constitutional state requires that when elections have been called, that decision cannot be reversed.”

The decree furthermore notes that the government is not handling a deviation from article 59 of the constitution lightly and that this is only justified under exceptional circumstances. “Such circumstances have currently occurred.”

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