POND ISLAND--The six political parties hoping to contest the August 29 Parliamentary Elections must have their candidate lists endorsed by eligible voters today, Monday, or be denied the opportunity to vie for the fifteen parliamentary seats.
The lists will be available at the Civil Registry on Pond Island from 9:00am to 4:00pm. Lists can be endorsed only today during the given time based on the Electoral Law.
A voter can endorse only one party's list as stipulated in the Electoral Law. Voters must present a valid form of identification: ID card, Dutch passport or driver's licence.
Each list needs signatures of at least 138 eligible voters to make it onto the ballot of the country's upcoming first Parliamentary Elections. The number of signatures was determined by the Central Voting Bureau based on one per cent of the votes cast in the September 2010 early Island Council Elections.
The Central Voting Bureau has set up 14 booths at the Civil Registry to facilitate the list-endorsement procedure.
In a press release issued late last night, National Alliance leader William Marlin said he "wants to remind all supporters to be at the Census Office no later than 8:30am and remember to walk with a valid ID."
The parties that receive endorsement of their lists today will move to the next steps in the electoral process: the numbering of their lists and the awarding of the party colours by the Central Voting Bureau. The colours will be awarded based on what was requested by the parties.
The six political parties hoping to be in the elections, in order of submission of their lists to the bureau at the Government Administration Building on Nomination Day, Friday, are United People's (UP) party, One St. Maarten People's Party (OSPP), Social Reform Party (SRP), United St. Maarten (US) party, Democratic Party (DP) and National Alliance (NA). The six lists total 90 candidates for the 15 parliamentary seats.
OSPP led by former commissioner Lenny Priest, SRP led by businessman Jacinto Mock and US party headed by independent Member of Parliament (MP) Frans Richardson are hoping to contest an election for the first time.
MP Theo Heyliger's UP, Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams' DP and MP William Marlin's NA contested the elections in 2010.
NA and UP issued press statements on Sunday calling on supporters to go to the Civil Registry as early as 8:30pm to queue up to sign their lists.
In party press statement issued early afternoon, UP leader Heyliger said: "We are looking at winning the August 29 election outright with 8+1=9 seats. The past four years of experience of coalition government have destabilised our democracy. The so-called Mexican standoff was the worst political experience ever displayed, bringing shame on our country."
In a press statement issued late last night, NA leader Marlin said an NA "victory" on August 29 would be "St. Maarten's best hope for political progress." He added that NA was "committed to a broad policy agenda" to ease the burden on low-income households, boost spending power, improve standard of living and enhance the St. Maarten experience for residents and visitors.
DP had full-page newspaper ads urging its supports to go to the Civil Registry to endorse its list.