Caribbean Netherlands elects island councils, incumbent parties can continue to govern 03:14 in Binnenland The special municipalities of Saba, St. Eustatius and Bonaire also chose electoral colleges, which help determine what the Senate will look like.

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Party leader Clark Abraham of the Democratic Party on Bonaire, after his election win
NOS News
  • Dick Drager

    Correspondent Curaçao

On the day of the Provincial Council elections, votes were also taken for the island councils on the three Dutch islands of Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius. These councils govern the islands, comparable to municipal councils in the Netherlands. The results are less spectacular than in the Netherlands: the incumbent parties can continue to govern, albeit with damage in some cases.

Voters on the three islands in the Caribbean Netherlands could vote for electoral colleges, which will determine in May, together with the Provincial Council in the Netherlands, what the Senate will look like.

Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius are special municipalities that fall under the authority of The Hague and do not belong to Dutch provinces. Residents still have influence on the Senate through the electoral colleges, even though the number of voters is so low that in practice they have no influence on the composition of the House. The local parties also do not make it clear in advance which party they will vote for in the Senate.

Bonaire

On Bonaire, the Democratic Party (PDB) received three seats, making the party the winner of the election. With 4,000 votes, the party has become the largest. But whether party leader Clark Abraham will get along with that remains to be seen. The incumbent coalition of MPB and UPB suffered damage, but will probably retain five of the nine seats to be allocated, and therefore the majority, through the residual seat system.

The same division was seen in the elections for the electoral college: DPB is the largest with more than 37 percent of the vote, UPB received 26 percent and MPB more than 16 percent.

Saba

On the small island of Saba, with only 2,000 inhabitants, Bruce Zagers’ Windward Islands People’s Movement (WIPM) lost two of its five seats. The party has been governing the island for decades, and won all five seats in the previous elections.

Last year, one of Zagers’ fellow party members broke with the party to continue independently. With the new party Party for Progress, Equality & Prosperity (PEP), this island council member now won two seats. Nevertheless, the WIPM can continue to govern with three seats.

Only the WPIM participated in the electoral college elections, it is not yet known how many votes were cast.

St Eustatius

On St. Eustatius, the Progressive Labor Party (PLP) won convincingly with almost 1000 votes. The Netherlands intervened on the island in 2018 and placed it under guardianship due to mismanagement of the same PLP. The then leading actor Clyde van Putten received by far the most votes yesterday as a list pusher.

The island is the only one of the three islands in the Caribbean Netherlands to have a local CDA chapter, led by Koos Sneek, but who finished last of the three parties and remains without a seat.

The newly elected island council of St Eustatius is not yet getting much power. Due to the Dutch intervention, the budget right is still in the hands of a government commissioner appointed by the Netherlands. Only this Commissioner may decide on the expenditure of public money.

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