PHILIPSBURG – All political parties are good to go for the February 26 parliamentary elections. On Tuesday afternoon, the Central Voting Bureau approved all the necessary paperwork during a brief public meeting at the parliament building.
The Central Voting Bureau examined all the documents and related information parties submitted on Nomination Day. With the exception of the submission of the United Democrats, which was flawless, the bureau found discrepancies with all other parties.
While these discrepancies are seemingly details – a wrong address, an incorrect date of birth, a missing decree of registration at the Electoral Council – the Central Voting Bureau insists on dotting all the I’s and crossing all the T’s before a party gets the green light.
Benjamin Ortega’s St. Maarten Development Movement (SDM) and Frans Richardson’s United St. Maarten party (USp) both forgot to submit their decree of registration.
On other lists, the Central Voting Bureau found incorrect addresses, wrong dates of birth, mixed up initials or pictures that were not given in the correct format.
Parties were notified of all discrepancies and given three days to remedy their mistakes. The People’s Progressive Alliance (PPA) was the only party that failed to collect the required 142 endorsement signatures for its list on Endorsement Day. But the party more than passed that limit – with a total of 249 signatures – last Monday.
Unlike in 2016, when the Central Voting Bureau refused to admit candidate number 15 to the list of the United St. Maarten party, this time around it approved all lists and all candidates.
This means that the six participating parties will go to the polls with a combined 93 candidates vying for the fifteen available seats in parliament.
Only two lists have the maximum number of 23 candidates – United Democrats and National Alliance. The USp fields 19 candidates, the St. Maarten Christian Party 12, the PPA 11 and the SDM 5.
Above photo caption: Members of the central Voting bureau raise their hands to approve one of the lists for the February 26 elections. From left extraordinary member Patrice Gumbs, Norisa de la Rosa, Tamara Richardson, chairman Jason Rogers, Ban van den Bos and Cindy Marica. Photo Hilbert Haar.