New political parties balk at postponement of electionsPOSTED: 12/2/15 2:13 PM
St. Maarten – Five newly registered political parties got together on Monday to discuss the intention by the William Marlin cabinet to postpone the February 9 elections.
The parties drafted a letter of protests that was hand delivered to Governor Eugène Holiday. In it, the five parties question whether the fundamental rights of citizens are being violated and “if this course of action can be viewed as another political maneuver to remain in power.”
The five parties are the Sint Maarten Development Movement (SDM) of Benjamin Ortega, the Millennial Advancement Party (MAP) of Peter Gittens, the St. Maarten Christian Party (SMCP) of Wycliffe Smith, Helping Other People Excel (Hope) of Mercedes van der Waals-Wyatt and Beyond SXM of Loekie Morales.
“All administrations should ensure continuity of government and thus cancellation of snap elections is not a prerequisite for electoral reform,” the parties stated in a press release, adding that “electoral reform is a necessary undertaking.”
Furthermore, the parties note that if the government is pro-reform “it should not make a difference that a newly elected party executes this.”
The parties are doubtful that true reform will materialize: “Past experience had shown that electoral reform has never been a high priority on the agendas of previous governments. We cannot afford to have our democratic right high-jacked or stolen in the name of electoral reform.”
The parties call in their press release on the governor’s “better judgment” and ask him “to heed the advice by the panel of three judges” and to take into consideration that the dissolution of parliament was based on their advice. “The very same advice threatens to be ignored by the current government.”