~ Six ‘new’ Parliamentarians ~
PHILIPSBURG–The United People’s (UP) party captured the most votes, but National Alliance (NA) and United St. Maarten Party (US Party) can be considered the winners, as they each picked up an additional seat, while the Democratic Party (DP) remained constant with its two seats after Monday’s Parliamentary election.
Coalition talks among the parties with seats are said to have already started. No information about the formation of a new Government was available at press time.
UP received 4,127 votes, NA 3,783, US Party 2,796 and DP 1,810.
UP lost the most votes compared to the 2014 elections when the party earned 6,156 votes. In that election, NA received 4,011 votes, and DP 2,398 votes. US Party was the winner in earning voters: it received 1,636 votes.
Voter turnout – 67 per cent – was lower than two years ago when the percentage at the close of polls at 8:00pm was 69 per cent. The number of valid ballots tallied 14,483, slightly down from 14,500 in 2014.
Invalid votes numbered 373, up from 303 two years ago.
The results of the election are preliminary until the Central Voting Bureau has a public sitting on Monday, October 3.
The tallying of the votes has produced six new presumptive Members of Parliament (MPs).
For the UP, the MPs are Sidharth “Cookie” Bijlani (243 votes), Claret Connor (231) and former MP Jules James (207). UP leader MP Theo Heyliger (1,426) and deputy leader Franklin “Frankie” Meyers (610) have been re-elected.
Heyliger was the higher vote-getter, as he has been for multiple elections, but his votes fell from 2014 when he received 1,945 votes.
Re-elected UP parliamentarians are Tamara Leonard (206), Leona Marlin-Romeo, Dr. Lloyd Richardson (163) and Cornelius de Weever (159).
NA leader Prime Minister William Marlin has again been elected an MP with 775 votes, same as Education Minister Silveria Jacobs (778 votes). Both were elected in the 2014 Parliamentary election, but resigned to become ministers last year. Their seats were taken by current MP Rodolphe Samuel who was the fifth-highest vote-getter on the party’s slate.
Samuel did not get into Parliament, as his party only earned four seats in that election. It was the same scenario with current MP Hyacinth Richardson. However, the two differ in this election in that Samuel (211) is a presumptive MP in the Parliament decreed to take its first sitting on October 31.
MP Christophe Emmanuel (NA) has been re-elected with 258 votes.
The absolutely new MP from NA is Ardwell Irion (190).
Like with the NA where the number two on the slate Jacobs earned more than the list-starter Marlin, the DP slate saw a similar outcome. Current Public Health Minister Emil Lee, in the number two spot, earned 667 votes and party leader Parliament Chairwoman Sarah Wescot-Williams received 444 votes. Lee will be a first-time MP. He fell short of going into Parliament after the 2014 polls. At that time the red party’s second seat went to incumbent MP De Weever, who later went independent.
New MP on the US Party slate is Chanel Brownbill, who earned 428 votes. Party leader MP Frans Richardson received 488 votes and fellow MP Silvio Matser 347.
The four other parties in the race did not win any of the 15 Parliamentary seats, although St. Maarten Christian Party (SMCP) of retired pastor Wycliffe Smith came close, earning 856 votes, 110 votes less than needed for a seat.
St. Maarten Development Movement (SDM) of Benjamin Ortega received 603 votes, People’s Progressive Alliance (PPA) of former Parliament Chairwoman Gracita Arrindell 229 and Helping Our People Excel (HOPE) of Mercedes van der Waals-Wyatt 75.
UP had earned seven seats in the 2014 Parliamentary election, but lost two seats without an election on September 30, 2015, when MPs Silvio Matser and Maurice Lake went independent. That caused the UP-led coalition to collapse and the current NA-led coalition to take office a short time afterward with a mandate to execute electoral reform and prepare for snap elections.
Source: Daily Herald
UP 5, NA 5, USP 3, DP 2