Instruction for Curaçao

THE HAGUE–The Kingdom Council of Ministers on Friday decided to take the organisation of the April 28 elections in the coming weeks out of the hands of the Curaçao Government and to transfer this authority to Curaçao Governor Lucille George-Wout.

  Based on a proposal of Dutch Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk, the Kingdom Council of Ministers agreed to request an urgent advice of the Council of State of the Kingdom regarding a series of measures that will be taken to ensure that the elections take place in an orderly fashion.

  The instrument General Measure of the Kingdom Government (“Algemene Maatregel van Rijksbestuur” AMvRB) will be used to put the Curaçao Governor in charge of the elections. The AMvRB also arranges that the Governor can make use of the departments of the Country Curaçao to secure a proper election procedure.

  The advice of the Council of State is required in the process of implementing an AMvRB. Because it requires an urgent matter, the Council of State will be asked to render an advice on very short term. Minister Plasterk told reporters after Friday’s meeting that he expected to receive the advice by Monday, because clarity is needed by Tuesday regarding the process of the elections.

  Plasterk said that the AMvRB was necessary in order to “prevent that someone else would again decide to postpone the elections or to change the course.” He said that he had an “extensive talk” with interim Curaçao Prime Minister Gilmar Pisas on Thursday evening, and that the issue had been amply discussed in Friday’s Kingdom Council of Ministers meeting.

  The Kingdom Government based its decision for an instruction to the Curaçao Government on the guarantee function, article 43 of the Charter which states that the Kingdom carries the ultimate responsibility for good governance in all countries of the Kingdom.

  The move of the Kingdom Government came after a few turbulent weeks in which Curaçao’s interim government thwarted the decision of the former Koeiman cabinet to dissolve the Parliament and to call new elections. The new interim government wanted the National Decree, ratified by the Governor, nullified by the Kingdom Government. The latter saw no reason to do so.

  Plasterk denounced the recent actions by the interim government to impede the lawfully called elections. “That interference appeared to happen last week. People were threatened with dismissal if they would assist in organising the elections,” he told reporters, referring to the civil servants of the Main Voting Bureau. 

  The Minister said that it was of utmost importance that the elections took place on April 28 and that they do so in an orderly fashion. “The people of Curaçao have to be able to cast their vote about the future of their country in free and fair elections,” he stated in a press release.

  Plasterk accused the interim government of having committed “a severe infringement on the integrity of the election process” in recent times. “That is why the Kingdom Council of Ministers considers it necessary to grant the Governor the authority to supervise a decent course of the elections.”

  It is the first time that the Kingdom Government intervenes to safeguard free and fair elections in another country. The Minister said he considered it “sad” that an instruction was needed to secure the election process in Curaçao. On the other hand, he called it positive that the interim government had decided earlier this week to retract the March 27 draft National Decree to annul the elections.

  The Kingdom Council of Ministers also decided that this draft National Decree to cancel the elections was “in violation of the legal security and good governance.” “The Governor was within her right not to ratify that draft decree.”

  Plasterk sent a letter to the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament on Friday to update the Parliament on the situation.

Source: The Daily Herald