Published On: Sat, Apr 7th, 2018

OUR ELECTORAL SYSTEM

Democracy is a system of government in which the citizens exercise their power directly by electing representatives via  political parties, to form a governing body, such as Parliament.

An electoral system is the set of rules outlining how elections are conducted and how their results are determined. Elections provide the primary means for ensuring that governments remain responsive and accountable to their citizens.

Important to note that within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the elections of the members of Parliament are elected based on a party system; the elections are free and conducted by secret ballot.

There are also differences in the way candidates, on behalf of a party, can be chosen. In the Netherlands and Aruba the candidates are placed in a specific order on the candidate list, and this order determines who is elected based on the number of seats obtained by the party.  In addition candidates can be elected by preferential votes.  On Sint Maarten however, the candidates with the highest amount of votes are elected regardless to where they are placed on the party’s list.

Matters pertaining to the election are regulated in the Constitution (Staatsregeling GT 2010 no.1), the Electoral Ordinance (Kiesverordening GT 2010 no.10), the National Ordinance Registration and Financing Political Parties (Landsverordening Registratie en Financien Politieke Partijen GT 2010 no. 11) and the General Decrees mentioned in the Electoral Ordinance.

The Constitution gives the general frame work of the election procedures, and regulates among others: who is eligible to vote or is excluded, who can postulate themselves on a political party, or is excluded and the method of calculating the election results, based on the Proportional Representation System.

The Election Ordinance regulates the detail of the above: the tasks and authorities of the Central Electoral Committee, the entire procedure of the voting process, from the nomination of candidates to the allocation of the seats.

The National Ordinance Registration and Financing of Political Parties regulates, among others

the tasks and authorities of the Electoral Council, the registration and financial administration of political parties, the donations to political parties and to candidates.

With regard to the voters the Constitution establishes the following criteria: the voter must be a resident, of Dutch nationality, be at least eighteen (18) years of age and his/her voting rights must not have been revoked by the Court (active voting rights).

With regard to the candidates, the Constitution states, the candidate must be a resident, of Dutch nationality, at least eighteen (18) years of age and his/her voting rights must not have been revoked by the Court (passive voting rights).

Proportional Representation System

The members of Parliament, are elected by proportional representation. This is an electoral system that seeks to create a representative body that reflects the overall distribution of public support for each political party, within the limits laid down in the national ordinance.

There are variety of formulas used to calculate the seats obtained by parties in a Proportional Representation System.  Articles 95 and 96 of the Electoral ordinance indicate what system is applied on Sint Maarten to elect the members of Parliament

The First Step is to calculate the Electoral Quota, which is determined by dividing the total number of valid votes casts by the total number of seats.  In the recent election the total amount of valid number votes cast was 13607 divided by 15 Parliamentary seats, results in the Electoral Quota of 907.13 rounded off to 907.              

The Second Step is to calculate the initial seats each party receives: total votes received by the party divided by the Electoral Quota.

The Third Step is to calculate which party will receive the Residual Seat(s).  The Residual seat(s) is the seat(s) that remain after the initial distribution of the seats in proportion to the votes received. In this election the total number of Residual Seats was 3 (15-12).  The residual seat(s) is allotted to the party with the highest average number of votes received.  The average is calculated by the dividing the total number of votes received by the party by the initial seats allocated plus one fictitious seat (article 96 of the Election Ordinance).  This exercise is carried out until all the Residual Seats are assigned to a party.

Understanding how the seats are allotted according to the Electoral Ordinance

Sint Maarten (articles 95 and 96 of the Electoral Ordinance).

Sint Maarten election results of February 26th 2018 (after the recount of the ballots):

Parties: Total Votes Received: Initial number of seats allocated:

 

(Article 95)

Calculation of the highest average, for the 1st residual seat:

(article 96)

First residual seat allotted to the party with

The highest average:

(article 96)

Calculation of the highest average, for the 2nd residual seat:

(article 96)

Second

residual

seat allotted to the party with the highest average:

(article 96)

UD   5769 5769/907=6 6+1=7

5769/7=824

0 6+1=7

5769/7=821

0
NA   4152 4152/907=4 4+1=5

4152/5=830

0 4+1=5

4152/5=830

 

1
USP   1796 1796/907=1 1+1=2

1796/2=898

1 2+1=3

1796/3=598

0
SMCP   1186 1186/907=1 1+1=2

1186/2=593

0 1+1=2

1186/2=593

0
SMD     419 0
PPA     285

 

0
Total 13607               12

 

Parties: Calculation of

highest average for the 3rd residual seat:

(article 96)

Third residual seat allotted to the party with

The highest average:

(article 96)

Total Seats after the distribution of the Residual seats

Obtained:

UD 6+1=7

5769/7=824

1 7
NA 5+1=6

4152/692

0 5
USP 2+1=3

1796/3=598

0 2
SMCP 1+1=2

1186/2=593

0 1
SMD 0 0 0
PPA 0 0 0
Total 15

 

Question:

  • What is your opinion on the possibility that someone’s right to vote can be revoked?
  • What is your opinion regarding allowing non-nationals residing on the island to vote?
  • What is your opinion on the method applied in calculating the election results?

 

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