Published On: Wed, Oct 2nd, 2019

Playing by the rules

votingbureau-arrives-at-mpc

By Hilbert Haar

When will politicians learn that they have to play by the rules? Given the soap opera the interim elections have become that could take some time. A lot of time.

I won’t go into the specifics of all the terms the law has put in place for elections. Suffice it to say that the constitution conflicts with the electoral law and the national ordinance registration and finances political parties. Members of the Central Voting Bureau have drawn their conclusions and did the only thing they could reasonably do. They resigned.

It is not that the government was unaware of the rules that are laid down in election-related legislation. Those rules have always been there but for some unknown reason the outgoing government opted to look only at the constitution that says in article 59 that the new parliament has to take office within three months from the date of the decree to dissolve the parliament. The rest of the rules be damned.

Jason Rogers - 20180116 HHBut now the Central Voting Bureau-members have put the government in its place by tendering their collective resignation. Before that happened, the governor already instructed informateur Silveria Jacobs to put together an interim government that is willing to bring the lower election-related legislation in line with the constitution.

This can only mean one thing: the terms currently mentioned in the electoral law and the ordinance registration and finances political parties have to change in such a way that it remains possible for a new parliament to take office within three months after the publication of a dissolution decree.

This will, by necessity, put in place a narrower timeframe for all steps leading up to elections: the window for registering political parties with the electoral council will have to shrink – probably to at best three weeks – and closure of the voter registry will also have to be cut down from, say, the current 30 days to something like 21 days. The rule that the Central Voting Bureau has to announce place, date and time for nomination day three weeks prior to nomination day does not have to change.

To get out of the current quagmire the only solution is to push elections into 2020, whereby, in my opinion. February 7 is the earliest possible date.

If formateur Jacobs manages to put a government together within this month, the interim government will be in office for a bit more than three months. Whether that is good news or bad news remains to be seen.

Photos caption: File photo of members of the Central Voting Bureau on their way to inspect the polling station at the Milton Peters College in the February 2018 elections. In other photo, Main Voting Bureau, attorney Jason Rogers.

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