Opinion: Vote-buying

POSTED: 10/10/12 12:11 PM

Hmm, elections are coming and Curacao is like a war zone. Violence and juvenile actions aside, there is another concern and it’s about vote-buying. Voters usually have to prove that they vote for their candidate with a picture of their ballot. Cell phones are ideal for the job.

But taking pictures in the voting booth is prohibited, the chairman of the main voting bureau in Curacao has said. On the other hand, it is not forbidden to have a cell phone with you in the booth.

But the good people who are at the different voting bureaus have no authority to confiscate cell phones. There is no legislation for it.

The good chairman of the main voting bureau, Geomaly Martes, says that when a voter is caught taking pictures a report will be made. At the moment Martes is investigating whether it is possible to fine the voter.

Oh dear, we are getting this déjà vu feeling here. Is this the first time that Curacao is organizing an election? We didn’t think so.

So one could say, based on results, that there is no great enthusiasm in the country for regulating irregularities, otherwise there would have been legislation to outlaw cell phones in voting booths a long time ago.

Here we are, practically on the eve of the elections, and the main voting bureau still has to find out whether it is possible to fine voters that break the rules.

Don’t sweat: that will most likely not be possible. After all, there is no legislation to confiscate the phones in case of a violation and members of the voting bureaus are not extraordinary police officers with the authority to issue fines.

So what gives? The stories about vote-buying and selling will be all over the place and all politicians stand around and do nothing, like they have since the Kingdom Charter was signed in 1954.

In the end, it does not seem to make a lot of difference whether people sell their vote. That is because every country gets the government it deserves, and Curacao is no different in that respect.
When October 19 rolls around and the results are coming in, we will know what kind of country Curacao really is. The choice is between a mob with freshly established links with the Italian mafia and politicians with a bit more decency. But in the end, they too remain politicians and we all know what those people are like: they promise you the earth and they forget all about it before all the votes have been counted.

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