Monday, Sep 01st

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Electorate votes for nine new candidates for Parliament

~ Theo, Silveria top two vote getters ~

PHILIPSBURG--There will be several new faces in Parliament for the next four-year governing period from the parties that secured seats in the first Parliamentary elections for St. Maarten.

More than half of the 15 Members of Parliament–elect are new. Several of the sitting MPs were not re-elected.

United People's Party

Five of the seven candidates elected from the United People's (UP) party slate are new. Elected were UP leader Theodore Heyliger with 1,925 votes (or 31 per cent of the 6,157 votes cast for that party); #3 candidate Franklin Meyers with 611 votes (10 per cent); # 23 candidate Silvio Matser with 491 votes (eight per cent); #6 candidate Maurice Lake with 305 votes (five per cent); #12 candidate Tamara Leonard with 302 votes (five per cent); #4 candidate Dr. Lloyd Richardson with 275 votes (four per cent) and #21 candidate Maria Buncamper-Molanus with 204 votes.

Meyers, Matser, Lake, Leonard and Buncamper-Molanus are new MPs elect. Buncamper-Molanus had served as the country's first Minister of Health, Labour and Social Affairs, but resigned after pressure over a land scandal. Richardson contested the 2010 elections on NA slate, but had declared himself independent and subsequently ran with UP.

Sitting UP MPs Johan Janchi Leonard (202 votes); Jules James (199 votes) and Gracita Arrindell (139 votes) did not secure sufficient votes to maintain their parliamentary seats. UP MP Silvia Meyers-Olivacce, the party's current fraction leader in Parliament did not contest the elections.

National Alliance

Two of the four persons elected to Parliament from the National Alliance (NA) slate are new. Elected were NA#3 candidate Silveria Jacobs with 966 votes (24 per cent of the 4,024 votes cast for that party and the highest vote getter in NA and second highest vote-getter overall); NA leader William Marlin with 735 votes (18 per cent), significantly lower than the number of votes secured in the last elections; #2 candidate George Pantophlet 394 votes (10 per cent) and #8 candidate Christopher Emmanuel with 247 votes (six per cent).

Jacobs and Emmanuel are new MPs elect. Jacobs had served as the country's Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports Affairs in the second coalition government.

Sitting NA MPs #5 candidate Hyacinth Richardson (206 votes) and #4 candidate Louie Laveist (184 votes) did not secure sufficient votes to retain their parliamentary seats. However, if Marlin and Jacobs were to take up positions in the executive branch of government given the ongoing formation talks #6 candidate former President of Parliament Rodolphe Samuel (243 votes) and MP Hyacinth Richardson (206 votes) would be next in line to represent NA in Parliament. If a third person is to take up a position in the executive arm of government then #10 candidate Romeo Pantophlet (205 votes) would fall in line to represent NA in Parliament.

Democratic Party

One of the two persons elected from the DP slate are new. Elected were party leader Sarah Wescot-Williams 695 votes (30 per cent of the 2,334 votes cast for that party) and #2 candidate sitting Minister of Health Labour and Social Affairs Cornelius de Weever 378 votes (16 per cent). Wescot-Williams was elected four years ago, but served as the country's Prime Minister in the three coalition governments during the current governing period.

Sitting DP MP Roy Marlin (120 votes) did not secure sufficient votes to retain his seat. DP's second sitting MP Leroy de Weever did not contest the parliamentary elections.

If Wescot-Williams and De Weever were to assume positions in the executive branch of government, #4 candidate Emil Lee (285 votes) and #9 candidate Sidharth "Cookie" Bijlani (217 votes) will be next in line to represent the party in Parliament. Lee and Bijlani will be new MPs if this were to occur.

United St. Maarten

One of the two persons elected to Parliament from United St. Maarten (US) party slate, is a new MP elect. Elected were US leader Frans Richardson with 722 votes (44 per cent of the 1,636 votes cast for that party); and #2 candidate Leona Marlin-Romeo with 245 votes (15 per cent). Marlin-Romeo had contested the 2010 elections with NA, but did not secure a seat in Parliament. Richardson had also contested the 2010 election as NA's number two candidate, but had subsequently declared himself independent and later formed his own party, which contested the election for the first time on Friday.

If Frans Richardson were to take up a post in the executive branch of government then US #4 candidate Rueben Thompson (151 votes) would represent the party in Parliament. If Marlin-Romeo also takes up a post in government then #2 candidate Anna Rabess-Richardson (136 votes) would be next in line to represent US in parliament. Thompson and Rabess-Richardson would be new faces in Parliament, if this scenario becomes reality.

One St. Maarten Peoples Party

One St. Maarten People Party (OSPP) and Social Reformation Party (SRP) did not secure a seat in Parliament. OSPP Party leader Lenny Priest secured 86 of the party's 169 votes (51 per cent of the votes cast for that party); while Jacinto Mock, the sole candidate on his party's slate pulled in 131 votes in the election, securing support in 19 of the 20 polling stations.

Top 10

Based on the individual results, the top 10 vote-getters in the election are UP's Heyliger (1,925 votes); NA's Jacobs (966 votes); NA's Marlin (735 votes); US' Richardson (722 votes); DP's Wescot-Williams (695 votes); UP's Meyers (611 votes) UP's Matser (491 votes); NA's Pantophlet (394 votes) DP's De Weever (378 votes) and UP's Maurice Lake (305 votes).

Coalition talks amongst NA, DP, US continue over weekend

CAY HILL--Talks to form a new coalition government for the next governing period continued amongst the Democratic Party (DP), United St. Martin (US) Party and National Alliance (NA) over the weekend.

The Daily Herald understands that parties met on Sunday to hammer out a more detailed agreement on working together in a new government for Country St. Maarten. Sunday's talks followed the signing of a preliminary agreement shortly after election results were announced in the wee hours of Saturday morning. The details of Sunday's talks could not be ascertained.

NA (four seats), DP (two seats) and US (two seats) form an eight seat majority for Parliament's 15 seats. United People's (UP) party won Friday's election with seven seats, but fell short of a majority and if the talks amongst the three other parties are successful, UP will be rendered to the opposition benches as had been the case in 2010 when NA had won elections with a similar seven seats, but ended up in the opposition when UP had teamed up with DP for the first coalition government of the country.

Holiday starts consultation on formation of new gov’t today

page1a089HARBOUR VIEW--Governor Eugene Holiday will start consultations for the formation of a new government as of today, Monday, September 1. The consultations will be held with Vice Chairperson of the Advisory Council; Ombudsman Nilda Arduin-Lynch; outgoing President of Parliament Gracita Arrindell and the leaders of the four political parties that obtained seats in the elections: United People’s (UP) party leader Theo Heyliger, National Alliance (NA) leader William Marlin; Democratic Party (DP) leader Sarah Wescot-Williams and United St. Martin (US) party leader Frans Richardson. The consultations are intended to promote a smooth transition for the appointment and installation of a new Council of Ministers, taking into account the results of the 2014 parliamentary elections on Friday. Holiday said on Sunday, that the current government has not tendered its resignation.

UP biggest, but NA, US, DP sign accord

page1a088PHILIPSBURG--St. Maarten will have yet another coalition government after Friday's elections. National Alliance (four seats), United St. Maarten Party (two seats) and Democratic Party (two seats) signed a declaration of willingness before dawn today to work together to form a new government.

DP leader Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams told The Daily Herald about the declaration shortly after the signing took place at the DP election headquarters at Bute Hotel.

The short declaration states that the parties are willing to work together. The coalition's governing programme and division of government responsibilities will be announced in the coming days.

United People's (UP) party with its seven of the 15 Parliament seats appears to be heading to the opposition benches. The party is one seat short of a clear majority to be able to go into government without support from NA, DP or US Party.

The preliminary seat allocations show that UP has gained one seat since the September 2010 early Island Council Elections.

NA lost three seats from when it was the winner of the 2010 elections with seven seats. However, it could be said that NA is maintaining its four seats in Parliament. After its win of seven seats in 2010, three of its Members of Parliament went independent.

DP maintains its two seats in Parliament.

US Party is a new party on the scene, headed by former NA, now independent, MP Frans Richardson.

By law, only two residual seats can be awarded. Those seats went to UP and US Party. UP earned six seats outright and the seventh seat was the residual seat. US Party earned one seat outright and its second was the residual seat.

UP Member of Parliament Theo Heyliger received 6,156 votes while NA of MP William Marlin received 4,011. Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams' DP received 2,398, and independent MP Frans Richardson's US Party 1,636 votes.

The two other parties in the election were One St. Maarten Party (168 votes) and Social Reform Party (131 votes). Neither party received sufficient votes for a seat.

The quota was 967 votes per seat, compared to 917 votes in 2010. What is interesting is that SRP had just one candidate, businessman Jacinto Mock, who received all its votes. OSPP had nine candidates, yet came in only 37 votes more than SRP.

The total number of eligible voters for this election was 21,433 (not 21,457 as previously announced by the Central Voting Bureau). The change in the number is due to some 20 people being removed from the voter registry by court decision.

The number of valid votes was 14,500 votes (69 per cent), up from 14,009 (72 per cent) in 2010.

Invalid votes numbered 303 and blank votes were 79.

Total votes cast: 14,882.

UP gained some 1,220 votes since the 2010 elections.

NA lost about 2,260 votes since the last elections.

DP gained some 28 more votes this election than the last elections.

The names of the 15 parliamentarians will not be known until later today, Saturday, when the Central Voting Bureau completes the crunching of the numbers. Results will be announced via the media and posted on the government's website .

The preliminary results, announced by the Bureau around 4:00am Saturday, will be verified in a public meeting of the bureau in five days, based on Article 87 of the Electoral Ordinance.

Bureau Head Jason Rogers said the earlier release of the preliminary results had been hampered by several "factors." Those factors included polling stations opening one hour later than previous elections, an increase in the number of voters and more polling stations.

The teams at the 20 polling stations "worked diligently" to count the ballots. The teams were commended for "a job well done," Rogers said.

Frans: Our message was loud and clear!

page3a088PHILIPSBURG--United St. Maarten party leader Frans Richardson reaffirmed his party's mission of continuing to make life better for the people of St. Maarten in his speech directly following this year's election's preliminary results. The party earned two seats.

"While some of them had counted us out, our message was loud and clear," Richardson said.

"Our message was clear, our message was loud, our message cannot change in this game. We made a promise to work for you the people. ... We intend to carry out that promise," he said on behalf of 14 fellow party members standing alongside him in front of the Government Administration Building.

"This country of ours is going through some serious, serious social issues. Those issues are affecting our people. We are saying, 'No longer can we continue in the direction that we are heading.' In the coming weeks and years this party has the job to continue to make life better for the people of St. Maarten. Stand with us, progress with us, work with us. The work is only now starting

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