PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — In addressing the letter from suspended MP Buncamper in a recent public meeting of parliament, MP Wescot was very critical of the recently announced electoral reform campaign, as announced by the Prime Minister.
“After all this time, the Prime Minister, who, it should be recalled, came in to office on the bandwagon of electoral reform, now wants to put to the public the question of what the public wants and understands under electoral reform.”
I want to remind the PM how very critical she was of me as an MP, when she took over the reigns in 2019 and how she touted electoral reform as her mantra.
Everything had electoral reform written all over it, from the PM’s acceptance as “formateur” for the interim government in November 2019 and then again , following the election in 2020.
MP Wescot stated that while she can agree that political instability can cause delays, interruptions, expenses etc. , what is often also at play is the game of political opportunism, namely putting off dealing with matters considered not politically expedient at a given time. “In my view, that is what is playing now with the entire matter of electoral reform.”
“Despite numerous requests in the past, parliament has never received an indication that this government has electoral reform as a priority.”
The MP who has been very vocal over the years about the relationship between the government and the parliament explained that electoral reform is a very broad term, encompassing matters of political representation, election of members of parliament, the electoral system, political parties and electoral funding, and added “that for the most part these are regulated in our constitution and our election law.”
“In preparing the constitution for our country , we stuck as much as possible with the systems, common in the Dutch Kingdom, with some notable exceptions. As for the electoral system itself, we chose to remain with proportional representation, but even to that there are many variants as well as many other systems.”
“ During the years of country status, it has become evident that adopting laws or parts thereof without consideration for the long political evolution the Netherlands has undergone, we often times find ourselves scrambling when it comes to execution on a local level. This is especially true for the constitution, in areas such as motions of no confidence of ministers, dissolving parliament etc.”
In my opinion we are creating our own history of some of these problematic issues and not all of it necessarily good, the MP stated.
From experience, I can say that for many when in parliament, the prevailing view is “a change in the sitting coalition should not automatically lead to a snap election, but usually those holding an executive position such as a minister, are of the opposite view. “You touch me, I send you packing.”
“Some of the actions by respective governments, parliaments and MPs have definitely contributed to the instability we have witnessed over the years. And it is usually on which side of the fence one sits at any given time.”
With our limitations, financially and otherwise, we need to prioritize our actions, also in the area of electoral reform and we need to collaborate if we are serious about achieving results. This should not be another propaganda campaign of the government, MP Wescot stated emphatically.
To this end, the Adhoc Committee for Electoral Reform of parliament has finally composed its list of priorities for electoral reform and this committee has invited the government to synchronize its actions regarding electoral reform, not the other way around, the MP concluded.