Friday , March 31 2023

Discussion on voting rights offered to Parliament

In keeping with the request of the Senate, Dutch Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk has approached the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament to discuss the voting rights in the Caribbean Netherlands and the setting up of an Electoral College for Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba. Plasterk sent a letter to the Second Chamber on Monday, in which he offered to meet with Parliament about the voting rights of people in the Caribbean Netherlands for the First Chamber of the Dutch Parliament, the Senate. This writes The Daily Herald.

The Second Chamber on October 23, 2012 approved the proposal to amend the Dutch Constitution to secure the constitutions of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba as public entities of the Netherlands, and to arrange the involvement of the Island Council in the election of members of the Senate. The Senate objected to the legislation proposal in question because in their opinion it proved impossible to combine three principal points of view: non-Dutch residents on the islands should have voting rights in the Island Council elections, non-Dutch residents should not have any influence on the composition of the Senate, and Dutch residents should have influence on the composition of the Senate.

The Senate, therefore, has proposed to draft a new proposal to amend the Constitution in which an Electoral College would be established. Only Dutch residents of the islands would be able to vote for the Electoral College, which in turn will elect the members of the Senate. In the Netherlands, the Provincial States elects the members of the Senate.

However, Plasterk is not in favour of establishing such a college for several reasons. He considered it “disproportionate” to set up a new institution for the sole purpose of securing that 1,121 non-Dutch voters on the islands would be able to vote for the Island Council. The minister has relayed this message to the Senate various times, but the Senate would not hear of it and asked Plasterk in February this year to go back to the Second Chamber to discuss a new law proposal to amend the Constitution. To solve this problem, the Dutch Government wants to take away the voting rights of non-Dutch residents in the Caribbean Netherlands, whereas non-Dutch nationals in the Netherlands do have voting rights in the Municipal Council elections. “The cabinet prefers that non-Dutch residents of the Caribbean Netherlands don’t have voting rights when it is arranged in the Constitution that the Island Councils obtain the voting right for the Senate,” Plasterk stated in his letter. The minister stated that he would like to meet with the Second Chamber as soon as possible because it was important to arrange for Dutch residents of the islands to have an influence on the composition of the Senate.


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