PHU wants evaluation of Electoral Law in 2015

KRALENDIJK — This is not the opportune moment to evaluate the Electoral Law, said Michiel Bijkerk of Pro Hustisia I Union (PHU). He said the amendment of the Electoral Law, as suggested by Minister Liesbeth Spies of the Interior and Kingdom Relations (BZK), is undemocratic.

He wrote this to the minister regarding the intention to tamper with the 75-percent regulation. This regulation gives small parties who don’t get the quota, but 75 percent of the votes, a chance to go for a residual seat. Based on this regulation, the PHU and MLB succeeded in obtaining a seat in the Island Council during the elections in 2011. According to Bijkerk, Spies now wants to turn the clock back so that the votes on the parties which don’t make the quota, simply go to the large parties. Bijkerk finds this undemocratic because those voters had definitely not voted for the larger parties. Those who gladly undermine the democracy welcome the amendment, but people who care about the democracy have no choice but to declare themselves publicly against the suggested amendment, according to the PHU-leader.

Bijkerk thinks the proposal probably came from the UPB because this party in first instance lost the administrative power due to the 75 percent-regulation. This was the result of a democratic process, the lawyer wrote. He finds the manner in which the same party regained the administrative power even more remarkable and rather dubious. Bijkerk wrote that although one cannot prove bribery in this case, it’s a fact that almost nobody on Bonaire believes this had proceeded correctly.
Also in the Netherlands, many small parties are active, from the Lower Chamber up to municipal level. This was never reason to conclude that this would affect the governance. The Netherlands is too democratic to reverse the 75-percent regulation, even though it would led to some governing difficulties the first time, said Bijkerk. He refutes the argument that this new system had led to governing difficulties although he admits that the system is inefficient but just.
Moreover, Bijkerk objected to the time of the proposed amendments in the Electoral Law because these anticipate the concluded agreement in the Final Declaration of 2006 that the new system of Public Body wouldn’t be evaluated until 2015. When an evaluation is necessary than 2015 is the right moment to scrutinize all of these points together, said the politician. He said the proposal is premature because the 75-percent regulation in itself hadn’t caused any problems.
Also the poor governance of the island isn’t related to the 75-percent regulation at all, but is due to the fact that the people had to stoically witness that the UPB is in power based on a considerable minority of the votes cast in March last year. It’s mainly due to the fact that Raphael Santana with his 69 personal votes supports UPB. The votes from PDB, MBL and PHU together (minus the personal votes of Santana) form the vast majority of the votes, said Bijkerk, who concluded that Santana and the UPB don’t represent the majority of the people: legally yes, but just legitimately.
Bijkerk wrote it would be to the credit of the Dutch government if the latter doesn’t encourage this kind of ‘scoundrels’ and requests the government and the Lower Chamber to postpone the evaluation of the Electoral Law until the evaluation in 2015. 

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