Opinion: Challenges 2014 ElectionsPOSTED: 12/30/13 12:43 AM
The Democratic Party had its share of challenges in the 2010 elections, party leader Sarah Wescot-Williams said at a party membership meeting two weeks ago.
Those challenges were of humongous proportions and they neatly clipped the party’s wings. The electorate massively turned its back on the now 60-year old party, but before that happened, DP-stalwart Theo Heyliger established his own platform with the UP, and Louie Laveist switched to the National Alliance.
The demise of the DP began already in 2008, when another DP-icon, Maria Buncamper-Molanus, got caught up in a scandal with her Sky is the Limit Foundation and a debatable $25,000 donation from the TelEm Group of Companies where her husband Claudius at the time happened to be a member of the supervisory board.
Buncamper-Molanus stepped down and came back. For this, the party needed the support from Laveist, who grudgingly agreed on the condition that Raphael Boasman be removed from his post at the Labor Office. The party made the promise, Laveist supported Buncamper-Molanus, but Boasman stayed where he was. That led to Laveist’s departure from the DP.
When the 2010 elections rolled around, the electorate gave the DP a piece of its mind. How bad was it? Very bad.
Wescot-Williams lost 37.5 percent of her voters compared to 2007. From being the top vote-winner in 2007 with 2,188 votes, she fell to third place behind Theo Heyliger and William Marlin with 1,368 votes.
Other party-members fared even worse than Wescot-Williams. Maria Buncamper-Molanus lost 72.5 percent of her voters and went from 494 to just 136 votes – but still became the Minister of public Health, Social Affairs and Labor.
It did not help the party’s reputation that Buncamper-Molanus had to step down after not even three months in office, due to the scandal with a piece of leased land on Pond Island. She sold the economic ownership of the land for $3 million to a bogus company that was established three days before this multi-million dollar deal. A criminal investigation into this event is still pending.
Roy Marlin went the same way as Buncamper-Molanus, with 69.8 percent fewer votes – from 424 to a measly 128. Even Leroy de Weever did not escape the carnage: he lost 46.5 percent and ended with 178 votes, down from 333 in 2007. They both still clinched a seat in parliament because Wescot-Williams became prime minister and Buncamper-Molanus got a minister’s post
Louie Laveist, haunted by bribery-accusations that ended in a conviction, felt the wrath of the electorate as well in 2010. His support fell by 48.6 percent from 683 to 351 votes.
Only two politicians did well in 2010: Theo Heyliger saw his voter support as the UP-leader jump by an astonishing 58.2 percent from 1,841 votes in 2007 (as the number 2 on the DP list) to 2,912. Patrick Illidge did percentage-wise the best of all with an increase of 73.4 percent, but in absolute numbers he could not stand in the shadow of the big guns; still, the move from 342 to 593 votes is something to remember, though Illidge will of course find himself in a Laveist-like position in the election year as a suspect in the Bada Bing bribery scandal.
Add to this that the field for the 2014 elections will consist of seven and possibly eight parties and the thought comes to mind that the DP will have its share of challenges also during the upcoming elections.