The announcement of a new UP/NA coalition surprised many, coming just hours after the last votes were counted. It was generally assumed the NA, US Party and DP that are all part of the current Government would continue working together, now with a two-thirds majority of 10 of the 15 Parliament seats.
Although still the biggest party, UP lost two seats and seemed out of the governing picture, but things turned out differently. UP and NA with five seats each have a total 10 as well.
Both also could have combined with US Party and its three seats, but that would have resulted in minimal majorities of eight seats, whereby bringing in the DP with two seats to broaden the support base in the legislature would have been an option. The same thing apparently has been achieved with just two parties, which usually makes the division of Minister portfolios and other functions a bit easier.
Perhaps the legal problems facing two US Party – and former UP – candidates, including one elected into office, played a role in NA’s thinking. It’s true that the latest ruling on the “Masbangu” vote-buying case involving the UP is being appealed by the Prosecutor’s Office, but up to now the party leadership has not been targeted, let alone charged.
While some expressed regret that the current Council of Ministers won’t be able to finish all it started nine months ago, the NA kept its portfolios and added one. This means three cabinet members are likely to stay on – Prime Minister William Marlin, Finance Minister Richard Gibson plus Education, Culture, Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Silveria Jacobs, which would facilitate a certain level continuity in at least three areas.
That NA leader Marlin most probably will again head the Government even though the UP of Theo Heyliger had more votes is logical in light of issues with the latter becoming Prime Minister in 2014. He already has been Deputy Prime Minister in a former NA-led coalition and is considered more in his element as public administrator than as parliamentarian, whereby the position of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transportation and Telecommunication (TEATT) Minister appears best-suited to his qualities and experience.
Time will obviously tell, but for now the incoming UP/NA coalition deserves the benefit of the doubt.
Source: Daily Herald
Benefit of the doubt