Published On: Tue, Jun 18th, 2024

Two new parties to take part in August 19 elections

PHILIPSBURG — Two new political parties will contest the August 19 parliamentary elections: the Soualiga Action Movement (SAM) and the Oualichi Movement for Change (OMC).

The founder of the latter party is businessman Olivier Arrindell. The Electoral Council confirmed the party’s retroactive registration per May 31, 2024.

Nathalie Tackling, the chairlady of the Electoral Council confirmed that both parties are eligible to take part in the elections. The admission of both parties is based on “an instruction by the prime minister to adhere to June 17 as the deadline for registration,” Tackling told StMaartenNews.com. The legal basis for this decision remains unclear.

Applying the deadline mentioned in article 16 of the national ordinance registration and finances political parties would potentially have resulted in trampling passive voting rights, Tackling stated.

Article 16, paragraph 2 of said ordinance states that parties that register within six weeks of Postulation Day will not be eligible to take part in the upcoming elections. The national decree that set Election Day for August 19 does not contain a deadline for the registration of new political parties and it sets the date of Postulation Day at July 2. Based on these dates a strict application of the law would not have blocked the registration of new political parties at the Electoral Council, but it would have barred those parties from taking part in the August 19 elections.

The Soualiga Action Movement is spearheaded by former Member of Parliament Franklin Meyers. Claude ‘Chaco’ Peterson is one of the prominent names on the list.

The Oualichi Movement for Change, founded by Olivier Arrindell, boasted in a press release issued earlier this month that it aims to secure a majority in parliament and that it wants to turn St. Maarten into “the Switzerland of the Americas.” The party also wants to initiate an operational audit of the tax inspectorate.

The party’s coat of arms shows two pelicans on both sides of an indian woman that depicts Mama Oualichi, according to Arrindell. Above its abbreviation (OMC) the party writes its name as Oualichi Mouvement for change.


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