Plasterk calls obstruction Curaçao elections a coup

THE HAGUE–The decision of Curaçao’s interim Government in February to stop the elections was, in fact, a coup d’état, said Dutch Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk during the TV programme WNL on Sunday.

Plasterk referred to the instruction of the MFK party-led interim Government to the Main Voting Bureau to refrain from cooperating with the organising of new elections on April 28. “This created uncertainty at the time, because actually this was, and I use a big word, a coup d’état.” He questioned whether a Government that obstructed convened elections was legitimate.

The elections were secured through an April 3 instruction of the Kingdom Council of Ministers, through a General Measure of the Kingdom Government AMvRB. This decision effectively took the organisation of the elections out of the hands of the Curaçao Government and transferred this authority to Curaçao Governor Lucille George-Wout.

Plasterk said there was a plan in case the elections had been indeed obstructed by the interim Government, but he didn’t want to go into details about what would have happened if the orders of the Governor and the Kingdom Government had been tossed aside.

“We had thought about this. If a country says we don’t want to cooperate, we are not sticking to the rules, there would have been consequences. Luckily, things went well. Nobody doubts the validity of these elections and that is the most important thing,” Plasterk stated.

Plasterk was diplomatic compared to Rotterdam Alderman Joost Eerdmans, who was also a guest on the WNL on Sunday programme. He said things would have been worse if “that idiot Schotte” had won the elections. Eerdmans described Curaçao as a “total mess” and wondered whether the Netherlands could not get rid of the island.

Plasterk responded that this was not only impossible considering the international law, but that this, in his opinion, was also undesirable. “We cannot neglect our responsibilities. I think that this would have adverse consequences for the people there,” he said.

The Minister sent a letter to the Dutch Parliament on Monday with information regarding the elections. He explained that the elections took place in an orderly manner, despite a few minor incidents that did not have an influence on the election process.

According to Plasterk, the international observers who were asked to supervise on the request of the Curaçao Government, through the Kingdom, in particular Minister of Foreign Affairs Bert Koenders, were also under the impression that the elections took place in an orderly fashion. He complimented the Governor, the Main Voting Bureau and Police for “a job well-done.”

Plasterk said he understood that the Governor would have consultations with the political parties that secured one or more seats in the new Curaçao Parliament on Tuesday and Wednesday. “We have to await the results of the consultations and the appointment of an inquirer. Nonetheless, I look forward to a constructive cooperation with the new Government.”

In a short statement released right after Friday’s elections, Plasterk expressed content that the elections had proceeded in an orderly manner. “The people of Curaçao have spoken. A new Government has to be formed based on these election results.”

In an interview with Radio 1, Plasterk said that he saw the elections results as a support for the current cooperation within the Kingdom, which in his view was inextricably connected to good governance. “These results don’t carry support for those who wanted to use these elections as a signal that Curaçao strives to leave the Kingdom. In that regard, I am relieved.”

Source: The Daily Herald