POND ISLAND–People’s Progressive Alliance (PPA) has received all of the signatures needed to get a spot on the ballot for the February 26 snap parliamentary election.
The party headed by former Member of Parliament Gracita Arrindell was given a second chance, based on the electoral regulation, to gather the still-needed signatures on Monday. PPA was the only party that failed to get all of the required 142 signatures on Endorsement Day, January 8. At that time, the party received 86 signatures, 56 short of the mark. The remaining 56 were received on Monday morning.
At the end of the endorsement period the party had gathered 249 signatures, 107 more than the required number. This final tally put PPA as the party with the second highest number of endorsements. United Democrats had received 268 signatures by 1:00pm on January 8.
Arrindell was happy to complete this part of the process to get on the ballot. She said the orange party’s supporters had sufficient notice this time around to request time off from their jobs to visit the old Civil Registry Building on Pond Island to endorse the party.
However, there were hiccups with the sign-up process. Arrindell was not happy that the tent erected outside the building for shade on Endorsement Day was not there on Monday. Also absent were the barricades. The computer system also went down, causing some delay with the verification of voters who went endorse the slate. Arrindell reported these issues to the Central Voting Bureau.
“At one point there were some 15 people waiting. Two couldn’t wait any longer and they left,” she said.
Another fault was that only one window was opened for voters to access the endorsement form.
The signatures were required for all parties that want to contest the upcoming election, but do not have one or more seats in the current Parliament. PPA, St. Maarten Development Movement (SDM), St. Maarten Christian Party (SMCP) and United Democrats needed 142 signatures, representing one per cent of the valid ballots cast in the last election in September 2016.
The Central Voting Bureau meets today, Tuesday, in a public session in Parliament House at 4:00pm to determine the validity of the slates of candidates submitted by the six political parties contesting the election.
The other two parties are National Alliance (NA) and United St. Maarten Party (US Party). Both parties have sitting MPs and did not require signatures. While United Democrats has eight sitting MPs on its slate, those MPs were elected on different parties’ slates in 2016.
The Central Voting Bureau will meet again on Friday in a public session in Parliament House to number the slates of candidates and assign a colour to each slate. The numbering of the slates will determine where on the ballot each party’s slate will appear and the colour relates to the background colour to be used for each slate.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/72772-ppa-receives-all-needed-signatures-at-second-try