Overview of Sint Maarten

Political Parties

NoPartyParty Name
1USPUnited St Maarten Party
2NANational Alliance
3UPPUnited People's Party
4DPDemocratic Party
5SRPSocial Reform Party
6OSPPOne St Maarten People Party

Eight parties registered with the Electoral Council for the upcoming elections. That number had dropped to six by Nomination Day. Concordia Political Alliance (CPA) and Citizens for Positive Change (CPC) announced on July 10 that they no longer would be in the race. The two CPA candidates joined NA and the top CPC candidate joined US party.

Ninety candidates representing six political parties hope to vie for the fifteen parliamentary seats in the August 29 Parliamentary Elections. This is twenty more candidates and two more parties than in the September 2010 early Island Council Elections. The definite number of candidates and parties will be determined by the number of parties that receive the full endorsement of 138 signatures from eligible voters on Monday. Party supporters must go to the Civil Registry on Pond Island between 9:00am and 4:00pm to endorse their preferred party slates.

Each of the six parties needs at least 138 signatures from eligible voters, one per cent of the voter turnout for the 2010 elections, to quality for the ballot in this election. Lists can be endorsed only on Monday,14 July 2014 during 9:00am to 4:00pm. People wishing to sign must present valid identification (e.g. an ID card or Dutch passport) to enter one of the 14 booths set up at the Civil Registry for the support process. The Central Voting Bureau will take an in-depth look at the lists to ensure all documents are in order. If errors are found with the documents of any party, the bureau will notify the registered party representative to rectify the situation as soon as possible. The bureau informed all parties that it would host a public meeting in the coming days to announce its findings.

Submitting their candidates' lists to the Central Voting Bureau on Nomination Day Friday, in order of submission, were United People's (UP) party, One St. Maarten People's Party (OSPP), Social Reform Party (SRP), United St. Maarten (US) party, Democratic Party (DP) and National Alliance (NA). UP, DP and NA have contested elections in the past and all have representatives in Parliament. US party, OSPP and SRP hope to contest elections for the first time.

US party is unique, as its leader Member of Parliament (MP) Frans Richardson won his seat in parliament as an NA candidate in 2010. He declared himself an independent MP about a year after that election.

Forty-five candidates are contesting an election for the first time. Divided as follows:

  • UP 23 candiates (9 newcomers)
  • NA 23 candidates (7 newcomers)
  • DP 19 candidates,  (9 newcomers)
  • US 15 candidates (13 newcomers)
  • OSPP 9 candidates (7 newcomers)
  • SRP 1 candidate

The maximum allowed number of candidates by law on a list is 23 candidates.

 Five of the six party leaders have served in the executive branch of government as commissioners/island council members in the days of the island territory of St. Maarten and three party leaders have served as ministers since the status of country-within-the-Dutch-Kingdom was acquired in October 2010. UP leader Theo Heyliger, OSPP leader Lenny Priest, US party leader Frans Richardson, DP leader Sarah Wescot-Williams and NA leader William Marlin all served at one point as Island Council members and commissioners. Only Priest and Richardson never served as ministers. SRP leader Mock never served in elected or appointed office.

There will be only five political parties contesting the August 29 Parliamentary Elections for the fifteen parliament seats. Five parties are said to have received the required number of signatures from eligible voters on Monday to make it to the ballot. The sixth, Social Reform Party (SRP), which hoped to continue in the elections race, came up short.

The Democratic Party (DP), National Alliance (NA) United People's (UP) party, United St. Maarten (US) party, and One St. Maarten People's Party (OSPP) confirmed that they had received the required 138 signatures and more to participate in the upcoming elections.

OSPP, led by former commissioner and NA candidate Lenny Priest, received the final signature minutes before the registry closed at 4:00pm. SRP was not so fortunate. It is said to have been short by some 50 signatures.

Women

Twenty-eight women are candidates for the elections, eight more than four years ago. UP has eight; DP and NA each have six. These were the same numbers of women candidates the three parties had in the last elections. US party has five women on its list, OSPP three and SRP none. DP is still the only party headed by a woman. UP, OSPP and US party have women as their number two candidates.

Deputy leaders

Two of the three parties with designated deputy party leaders have placed them as the number three candidates. UP's deputy leader former minister Franklin Meyers is his party's number three, while NA's deputy leader former Minister Silveria Jacobs has the same placement on her party's list. DP deputy leader civil servant Erno Labega is not on his party's list.

MPs for re-election

UP's list has the most Members of Parliament running for re-election. The party's five MPs are party leader Theo Heyliger, President of Parliament Gracita Arrindell, Jules James, Johan Leonard and Dr. Lloyd Richardson. Richardson is the only MP who did not run with UP in the 2010 elections, when he was a National Alliance candidate. NA has four MPs running for re-election: party leader William Marlin, George Pantophlet, Louie Laveist and Hyacinth Richardson. DP has only MP Roy Marlin running for re-election. US party leader Frans Richardson is hoping to maintain the seat he holds, to which he was elected as an NA candidate four years ago. There are no MPs on the OSPP and SRP lists. Four MPs are not seeking re-election: Sylvia Meyers-Olivacce (UP), Romain Laville (former UP, now independent), Leroy de Weever (DP) and Patrick Illidge (former NA, now independent).

Ministers

Only three of the seven ministers of the current UP/DP/Laville coalition are candidates in the elections. Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams, who is also DP leader, is joined on her party list by Health and Labour Minister Cornelius de Weever. Public Housing, Spatial Development, Environment and Infrastructure Minister Maurice Lake is on the UP list.

Six minus two

Eight political parties are registered with the Electoral Council, but only six submitted candidate lists on Nomination Day. Citizens for Positive Change (CPC) and Concordia Political Alliance (CPA) announced Thursday that they would not contest the elections. The two CPA candidates – Jeffrey Richardson and Ameera Groeneveldt – joined NA as candidate number nine and 20 respectively. CPC President Rueben Thompson joined the US party as its number four candidate.

First elections

The upcoming election is the first Parliamentary Election for country St. Maarten. The September 2010 election was an early Island Council election. The council was expanded from 11 to 15 members to match the seats in the Parliament of country St. Maarten. When the status of country-within-the-Dutch-Kingdom was achieved by St. Maarten on October 10, 2010, a transition regulation allowed for the 15 Island Council members to serve as MPs in the new constitutional system. All six parties must have their lists endorsed due to the upcoming elections being the first for Parliament.

Unique points

Two brothers – Cornelius de Weever (DP) and Miguel de Weever (UP) are both candidates in the elections. Several candidates across parties, as in the past, are blood relatives to some degree or are related by marriage. At least four of the candidates for the upcoming elections are known Freemasons. Elections in St. Maarten have always been peaceful, with Nomination Day known for its pageantry, fanfare and camaraderie across party lines. Friday was no exception. US party, DP and NA arrived at the Government Administration Building in the afternoon to submit their lists with candidates and supporters sporting party colours. The UP party, which submitted its list early in the morning, was not to be left out. The party's candidates and supporters gathered at the Administration Building after a parade through town in the afternoon.

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