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Editorial - Wishful thinking

The question whether to allow the NA/DP/USP/Matser/Lake majority that passed a motion of no confidence against the Gumbs cabinet to form a new government, or to dissolve Parliament and call snap elections as the Council of Ministers has decided, was the “talk of the town” over the weekend. The only opinion that’s truly going to matter in the end is obviously that of Governor Eugene Holiday, who must either sign the dissolution decree to go back to the polls or appoint someone to guide the formation process based on the draft governing accord submitted to him on Wednesday.

Mind you, there are valid arguments for either option. After all, it would be the fifth government already in five years since gaining country status and a considerable number of parliamentarians have “jumped ship” during that period to help establish different coalitions, even though most of them did not earn their seats based on preferential votes but thanks to their party leader.

On the other hand, in a parliamentary democracy it is the elected representatives –regardless of how much or little voter support they won – who in principle should have the final word, rather than appointed public administrators. In this case one can add that none of current cabinet members was actually elected as legislator in the first place to become minister instead.

Of course, the Constitution does make provisions to send home the legislature, but the prevailing view still seems to be that this is only meant for emergency situations when the country is basically ungovernable; for example, if there is no working majority in Parliament. As it stands, even the portfolios already have been divided among the incoming coalition partners and they also have agreed to use the draft Government programme of the intended NA/DP/UPS combination that never became a reality following the 2014 vote.

Another advantage mentioned of again having elections just one year after the last one is that the independent parliamentarians now contributing to the political instability then no longer will play a role. However, this is wishful thinking, because recent history has shown that former candidates who break with their party for one reason or another are quite easily welcomed by others.

Moreover, as long as a seat in effect belongs to the person occupying it practically under any circumstance, there is always the chance of the exact same thing happening in the future. Needless to say, that also remains a real possibility if a new government is installed.      

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