MARIGOT–Territorial Councillor and member of Movement for Justice and Prosperity (MJP) Marthe Ogoundélé-Tessi officially announced her candidacy on Thursday for Députée (Member of Parliament) of St. Martin and St. Barths in the upcoming June 11 and June 18 Legislative Elections in France.
St. Martin and St. Barths are among overseas territories going to the polls again on Saturday, June 10, for the first round and Saturday, June 17. Polling stations will be open from 8:00am to 6:00pm on those days. The Préfecture reminded that candidate declarations must be submitted at the Préfecture from Monday, May 15, to Friday, May 19, at 6:00pm local time.
Legislative Elections are held after the Presidential Election to elect the 577 members of the 15th National Assembly in Paris. Of the 577 constituencies, 539 are in metropolitan France, 27 in overseas departments and territories, and 11 for French citizens living abroad.
Ogoundélé-Tessi, a teacher by profession, was First Vice-President of the new Collectivité under Louis Constant Fleming from 2007 to 2008, taking charge of education, training, culture and youth affairs, and Territorial Councillor from 2008 to 2012. In the Commune era she was a Deputy Mayor from 2001 to 2007 with responsibility for education, transport, and schools. She was number two on MJP’s list for the 2017 Territorial Council Election.
She said at the press conference her substitute is likely to be a candidate from St. Barths, though this could not be confirmed yet, as negotiations are still ongoing. President of MJP Louis Mussington indicated that Frantz Gumbs is willing to take on the role, if the St. Barths candidate falls through.
Ogoundélé-Tessi (53) was nominated for the candidacy by the MJP party, but she did not receive an endorsement from President-Elect of France, Emmanuel Macron’s “En Marche” party despite MJP voting for Macron possibly due, she suggested, “to too many candidates from St. Martin.”
She added she is the most experienced candidate for the job, with three elements running in her favour; the number of Parliamentarians making their exit, the relative inexperience of the other St. Martin candidates, and the fact that campaigning by MJP never stopped since the Territorial Council Election.
“A successful candidacy will permit me to deal with the important dossiers of St. Martin and St. Barths, and defend the interests of both islands in Paris,” she said. “Creation of a university in St. Martin, soliciting the new French government for a significant increase in the “Dotation Compensation des Charges” transferred to the Collectivité, encouraging civil servants from St. Martin working in France to come back to St. Martin, and modifying the Organic Law. These are just a few of the issues I will be fighting for.
“It is very important for the population to vote massively on June 10 and 17, not just for me, but to ensure St. Martin and St. Barths continue to have representation in the National Assembly. We want to obtain maximum votes in the first round to make it into the second round.”
Louis Mussington explained there is talk of reducing the number of Parliamentarians in the National Assembly.
“There might be an agreement between the political parties to reduce the number of Parliamentarians and Senators, but if and when that happens depends on how Emmanuel Macron looks at it, if he feels it is a priority, and also if he gets a majority in congress,” said Mussington. “To do it the Constitution would have to be modified and a bill introduced to reduce the numbers. During the national campaign there was a strong argument supporting it.”
Other candidates from St. Martin, so far known to be contesting the Legislative Elections are René Arnell, Jacques Hamlet, Claire Javois, and possibly Patricia Chance-Duzant.