~ Women underrepresented ~
PHILIPSBURG–A total of 112 candidates on the slates of seven political parties will be vying for the 15 parliamentary seats in the snap election on January 9, 2020.
This is 19 more candidates than the 93 who contested the election a year ago in 2018, and one more political party than the six that contested last year.
Only 29 of the 112 candidates are women and 83 are men, making women a still-underrepresented group. Of the 29 female candidates, 8 are on the People’s Progressive Alliance (PPA) list; 5 each on the National Alliance (NA) and St. Maarten Christian Party (SMCP) lists; 4 on the UP slate; 3 on the UD slate and 2 each on the Party for Progress (PFP) and United St. Marten Party (US Party) slate.
For the 2018 election, 25 of the then 93 candidates were women, and 35 women were scattered across the nine slates in the 2016 election. There is more balance at the top of candidate lists of political parties this year, as four of the seven parties contesting the elections next year are headed by women: United Democrats (UD) with Sarah Wescot-Williams, NA with Silveria Jacobs, PFP with Melissa Gumbs and PPA with Gracita Arrindell.
Of the 112 candidates 12 are existing (and incoming) Members of Parliament (MPs) who are seeking re-election, and three are ministers. At least three new faces will therefore be in the new parliament.
The sitting MPs who are seeking re-election are UD MPs Sidharth “Cookie Bijlani; independent MPs Rolando Brison, Dr. Luc Mercelina, and Chanel Brownbill; St. Maarten Christian Party (SMCP) incoming MP Wycliffe Smith; National Alliance (NA) MPs William Marlin, Christophe Emmanuel, and incoming MPs Ludmila Duncan, Anna Richardson and Rodolphe Samuel; United Democrats MP Sarah Wescot-Williams; and United St. Maarten Party (SMCP) MP Frans Richardson.
Not seeking re-election are UD MPs Tamara Leonard, Franklin Meyers and Jules James. Ministers contesting are NA’s Silveria Jacobs, Ardwell Irion and Egbert Doran.
The ratio of candidates to available seats starts some 7.4 candidates per seat. There are 23,130 eligible voters whom the 112 candidates can woo for votes. There were 22,559 eligible voters during the 2018 elections and 22,302 in 2016.
At a 100 per cent voter turnout for next year’s election, a candidate would need at least 1,542 votes for a seat in the legislature.
Three of the seven parties – UP, PFP and PPA – will need 136 persons to endorse their candidate lists to qualify to contest the election. The endorsement/support of the political candidate lists will take place at the Department of Civil Registry (Census Office) at the Government Building today, Friday, November 22, from 9:00am to 4:00pm.
A voter can support a list by placing his or her signature on a candidate list. The same voter is not allowed to sign more than one list. Only eligible voters can support a candidate list. The voter will need to identify him-/herself with a valid identification card, a valid passport or a valid driver’s licence.
Political parties that obtained one or more seats in Parliament during the last election do not need to have their lists endorsed. These parties are NA, US Party; SMCP and UD.
Election Day will be January 9, 2020, and the dissolution of Parliament and convening of the new Parliament on February 10, 2020.