WILLEMSTAD–The Dutch delegation attending the Inter-Parliamentary Consultation of the Kingdom IPKO in Curaçao this week would like to see concrete decision-taking regarding the presence of election observers from international organisations as well as representatives of the Parliaments in the Kingdom.
Deputy leader of the Dutch delegation and GroenLinks Senator Paul Rosenmöller pointed out during the deliberations on Tuesday that the issue of election observers had been discussed at a previous IPKO and that, in the opinion of the Dutch delegation, it was time to come to a concrete agreement.
Having outside eyes at elections has a positive effect, Rosenmöller said. “Our proposal is to have mutual election observers. It is vital for our democracies that elections take place in a correct and transparent manner, and according to international guidelines. It seems a given, but when this is not the case, it becomes a big issue,” he said.
“Keeping the door open to observers and having other countries see how you organise an election is a good thing,” said Rosenmöller. He asked the other participating delegations from Aruba and Curaçao to, as Parliaments, reconfirm the importance of having observers present at elections and to define how the process would work, also on the reporting by the observers.
The agreement could first be applied during the March 2021 Second Chamber elections in the Netherlands and later that year during the elections in Curaçao and Aruba, said Rosenmöller. “We can use the elections in the Netherlands as a try-out,” he said. The idea is for St. Maarten, which is not present at the current IPKO due to the elections on Thursday, January 9, to adopt the agreement at a later stage.
The Curaçao delegation proposed to have the agreement focus on the presence of members of the Parliaments of the Kingdom as additional election observers. Curaçao already has international election observers, noted Member of the Curaçao Parliament Ana-Maria Pauletta of the PAR party.
Member of the Aruba Parliament Rocco Tjon of the MEP party said that in principle Aruba was positive about the proposal. He said political parties in Aruba traditionally invited international election observers. He called for a concrete proposal which could be handled by the IPKO this week.
Member of the Curaçao Parliament Yves Schoop of the MAN party said it would also be a good thing to involve regional entities such as the Organisation of American States (AOS) and the Caribbean body CARICOM when it concerns elections in the Dutch Caribbean. He asked whether the proposal also meant that members of the Dutch Caribbean Parliaments would observe at Dutch elections. He received an affirmative answer to this.
Member of the Second Chamber André Bosman of the liberal democratic VVD party pointed out that the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe OSCE already has complete scripts for international election observers since 1990. He called on everyone to be open to election observers and not to be fearful of this.
Senator Annemarie Jorritsma of the VVD party said it has been an international custom for years that members of Parliament act as observers. “You learn from this experience and you observe how other countries go about this. You are there just to observe. Nothing more and nothing less. You don’t interfere in the local elections,” she said.
Member of the Second Chamber Ronald van Raak of the Socialist party (SP) referred indirectly to St. Maarten when he remarked that there were countries that did not want election observers. “This gives the impression that a country has something to hide. That is something that you shouldn’t want as a decent Kingdom,” he said.
Van Raak called it a “great pity” that St. Maarten had not made use of the offer of the Dutch government to have international observers present at the elections. “The Netherlands paid for this in the past, and was willing to do so again this time. I see election observers as a reassurance that the elections take place in a democratic, transparent manner, not as a threat.”
Bron: Daily Herald