Opinion: We still disagree

POSTED: 09/10/14 7:20 AM

Ed Gumbs walked into our office yesterday afternoon to react to our opinion headlined The root cause of all trouble. Gumbs maintains that parliament seats won belong to the party, we disagree – and we still do.

Gumbs bases his argument on article 98 of the electoral law. That article reads in paragraph 1 – and we summarize – that to fill the places that have been attributes to each list, the candidates  who have been elected that won a number of votes equal to or higher than the list-quota.

List-quota is a misleading term, because the quota is simply the number of votes a candidate needs to be elected. This quota is found by dividing the number of valid votes by the number of available seats. Since there were 14,556 valid votes this time around, the quota for one seat is 970.4. Only two candidates actually hit that number: Theo Heyliger (1,945) and Silveria Jacobs (973).

So what to do with the remaining 13 seats? Article 98 gives the answer in paragraph 2. First of all, the article notes that seats have been attributed to “the list” – that is, the list of candidates of each participating party. Candidates that have not made the quota for a seat are ranked according to the number of votes they received. In other words, those with the most votes fill up the remaining seats a party won.

Does this system make those seats the property of the party? Again, Gumbs thinks it does, and we think it does not and should not, if only because it would hamper Members of Parliament to follow their conscience. It would give the parties too much power –and that simply cannot be healthy for the functioning of our democracy.

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