October 20, 2012 4:04 PM
NETHERLANDS - A large majority of MPs would have no objections if the former Dutch colony of Curaçao opts to break away from the Netherlands altogether, according to media reports at the weekend.
The Caribbean island has just staged elections and the biggest party wants full independence from The Hague.
Party spokesmen told news agency ANP they will not object if Helmin Wiels, leader of winning party Sovereign People, holds a referendum on independence.
According to AP, Sovereign People won 23% of the vote while the Movement for the Future of Curacao, led by former prime minister Gerrit Schotte, won 21%. Both parties will have five seats in parliament and the rest will be divided between six other parties.
This is likely to dampen Sovereign People's efforts to win full independence even if it can form a government, AP said.
The issue is a matter for the island itself, André Bosman of the VVD said. If independence is what the islanders want, they will of course have our support, he said.
Labour spokesman Martijn van Dam said the party will respect the islanders’ choice but said he thinks it will be hard for Curaçao to stand on its own two feet.
In July, home affairs minister Liesbeth Spies told parliament Curaçao's 2012 budget has a shortfall of 153m Antillean guilders, of which nearly 100 million guilders is needed to cover debts from previous years.
The government wrote off the island's debt in 2010 when it and Sint Maarten became independent countries within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
This means the two countries have more independence in terms of law-making and government but that the Netherlands will keep an eye on their finances and remain responsible for defence and foreign policy.