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DH | Big winner in St. Maarten is D66 for third time in a row

HomeLandenSint MaartenDH | Big winner in St. Maarten is D66 for third time...
Personnel of the Dutch Representative Office in Philipsburg counting the votes on Wednesday afternoon. Photo by Dimetri Whitfield.

PHILIPSBURG–For the third election in a row, centrist party D66 received the most votes in St. Maarten for Wednesday’s Dutch parliamentary election.

Of the 134 total votes, 33 were cast for D66 at the “letter voting” bureau at the Dutch Representative Office on Frontstreet. Tied for second place were right-wing liberal party VVD and left-wing alliance GroenLinks/PvdA with 28 each.

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Personnel of the Dutch Representative Office in Philipsburg taking a group photo after completing the initial vote count. Photo by Dimetri Whitfield.

Although D66 emerged as the largest vote-getter in St. Maarten again, its margin of victory was significantly smaller than in the previous election in 2021.

Bolstered by its addition of former St. Maarten Minister Plenipotentiary Jorien Wuite on the candidate list, the party snatched 54% of the vote at the last election. Wuite’s 66 personal votes were more than the second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh highest parties combined. She did not stand for re-election to the Dutch Second Chamber of Parliament in 2023.

Coming in fourth in Wednesday’s poll was Pieter Omtzigt’s New Social Contract (NSC) with 13 votes, followed by Geert Wilders’ right-wing party PVV with 10. PVV’s 10 votes are an increase of four since the last election, but nowhere near the dramatic rise the party saw in the European Netherlands in 2023.

Pro-farmers party BBB got eight votes in St. Maarten, while left-wing party BIJ1 and pro-animals party PvdD received three each. BIJ1’s total on Wednesday was down seven from 2021 and down two from 2017 when it was known as Artikel1.

Social liberal party Volt and far-right parties JA21 and Forum for Democracy FvD got two votes each.

At the bottom of the voting table were Interest of the Netherlands BVNL and the Pirate Party, each tallying one vote.

Notably, parties Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA), Denk, Socialist Party (SP) and Christian Union (CU) did not receive a single vote in St. Maarten on Wednesday. CDA had the third-highest vote count in the 2021 election.

The highest number of personal votes at St. Maarten’s polls went to VVD leader Dilan Yeşilgöz (25 votes), followed by D66 leader Rob Jetten (17 votes) and GroenLinks/PvdA leader Frans Timmermans (14 votes).

Omtzigt received 12 votes, while six each went to Wilders, GroenLinks/PvdA number two candidate Esmah Lahlah, and BBB leader Caroline van der Plas.

Current caretaker Dutch State Secretary of Kingdom Affairs and Digitisation Alexandra van Huffelen got three votes as D66’s number 73 candidate.

Dutch Representative Office personnel began the process of counting the ballots when polls closed at 3:00pm Wednesday. It took about 50 minutes to tally the votes.

Eligible voters were Dutch nationals who have lived in the Netherlands for at least 10 years. Persons fitting the criteria could register to cast their ballot locally.

There were 200 registered voters for the 2023 election. The turnout was 67%, down from about 87% in 2021 and 90% in 2017. None of the 134 votes were blank or invalid.

In addition to St. Maarten, there were letter voting bureaus in Aruba and Curaçao. Exactly 538 were registered to vote in Aruba and 1,250 in Curaçao.

Of the 419 votes cast in Aruba, most went to GroenLinks/PvdA (102), VVD (90) and NSC (56).

Of the 845 votes cast in Curaçao, most went to VVD (237), GroenLinks/PvdA (144) and D66 (99)

Bron: Daily Herald

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