07 February 2011

Bonaire Adjusts to 'Public Entity' Status of Partial Integration

Bonaire Island Elections in March 2011

Bonaire Reporter

The first elections since the new constitutional structure that dissolved the Netherlands Antilles and integrated Bonaire, Statia and Saba into The Netherlands will take place on Wednesday, March 2, 2011. The election is analogous to Dutch elections for the provincial councils. The “public entity of Bonaire is responsible for organizing the Island Council elections and informing citizens about the process of this election. The RCN (Rijksdienst Caribisch Nederland) is responsible for encouraging citizens to use their right to vote.

Therefore, The Netherlands and the Island government together provide information to the public. For the first time, Dutch voting rules will apply. Under the slogan, "You also do it?" an intensive campaign will be launched, involving a range of media and a door-to-door leaflets.

Five-year Residency Requirement for Voting Upheld

Bonaire Reporter

Foreigners residing on Bonaire legally five years or longer can vote in the Island Council elections in March. That’s what the court ruled in a case filed by PHU President Rafael Santana against the government, which had earlier rejected his appeal. The ruling means that long-time adult foreign residents can vote in municipal elections. The Dutch Second Chamber had approved an amendment presented by Member of Parliament Johan Remkes to forbid foreigners to vote in the new overseas Dutch BES Island municipalities (Saba, Statia and Bonaire) because that would indirectly influence elections for the Dutch First Chamber. But because this amendment has not yet been introduced, the court found there is no justification to bar immigrants from voting, which would constitute unequal treatment under various international treaties.

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