Published On: Sat, Jun 1st, 2024

Will elections have to be postponed again?

PHILIPSBURG — The revised national decree of May 27 that sets the date for the parliamentary elections at August 19 contains a painful omission: the deadline for the registration of political parties.

The now contested decree states: “The government had taken into account the possibility for political parties to register and to abide by the stipulations as prescribed in the Electoral Law.”

It sounds good but there is one problem: it cannot be correct. The Electoral Law states that the deadline for political parties to register is six weeks before the date of Postulation Day. The national decree of May 27 sets Postulation Day at July 2, meaning that political parties would have to register the latest on May 20 to be able to take part in the elections – and May 20 is already in the past.

Renate Brison, the secretary of the Pro Soualiga Foundation alerted StMaartenNews.com to the omission. Foundation president Denicio Brison wondered whether a new national decree is underway to repair the damage.

It seems that Prime Minister Dr. Luc Mercelina has little choice in this matter and that a corrected national decree could announce another postponement of the elections.

Denicio Brison does not think so: “All they have to do is issue a new national decree that includes the cut-off date.”

But maybe it is not that simple. Amending the decree by taking for instance June 17 as the cut-off date for registration, would leave only two weeks until postulation day, whereas the law states clearly that the deadline for registration must be six weeks before postulation day.

Brison: “What would be the legal basis for the prime minister to shorten the time between the deadline for new parties to register and the postulation date? The rule of law holds that citizens must always be certain that the law will be obeyed by one and all.”


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