While Dutch Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Minister Ronald Plasterk says it’s up to St. Maarten to solve its current political, constitutional crisis (see related article), the problem could very well end up on the table of The Hague. After all, a Governor who believes a decision by Government goes against the interest of the kingdom’s guarantee function must submit it to the Crown and by extension the Kingdom Council of Ministers for annulment.
Whether this has been done already with the Gumbs cabinet’s draft national decree to dissolve Parliament and call early elections is not known, but other than signing it that seems to be the only alternative. Plasterk also hinted at the possibility when he added that it’s up to the Governor whether he sees the necessity to act as a kingdom official.
The matter is obviously complicated, judging from the fact that there is expert advice in favour of both the dissolution option and allowing the recently established NA/DP/UPS/Matser/Lake coalition to form a government. The latter probably would not take long, as the portfolios have been divided already and a basic governing programme agreed on, although the screening of candidate ministers might be a different story.
It’s just a suggestion, but perhaps the “tolerance” model in the Netherlands where the Rutte cabinet is allowed to carry on despite lacking structural legislative majority backing, in this case for a fixed period such as until the end of the year, could be a compromise worth considering.
As it stands, the “new majority” requested a meeting to elect DP leader Sarah Wescot-Williams as President of Parliament that has been scheduled for next Tuesday, the day after – somewhat ironically – Constitution Day will be observed as a public holiday for the first time. This year’s celebration is likely to be low-key under the circumstances, but perhaps can lead both sides to reflect on the importance of –either way – closing this unfortunate chapter and moving on sooner rather than later.