The signing of a coalition agreement between National Alliance (NA) and United People’s (UP) party brings together the two biggest parties for the first time in quite a while. It must be said, the very morning after the September 26, 2016, election the same two parties had signed a coalition agreement that did not result in a government but was instead replaced by an NA/US Party/DP “white, blue and red” combination mid-November.
Something like that is not likely to happen now, although number two on the NA list and Member of Parliament (MP)-elect Christophe Emmanuel not having signed yet does raise questions. It also means that – at least for the moment – the coalition has the backing of nine rather than 10 seats that would have constituted a two-thirds legislative majority.
It wasn’t immediately clear which of these numbers the announced allotment of ministries and other posts is based on. However, the fact is that only five of the six prospective NA faction members had so far declared their support for the agreement, along with the four of UP.
In the present situation, NA has one cabinet minister for each of its five seats and UP has just two with four seats. Of course, the latter party did get the president of parliament, a politically important function, while NA will nominate the plenipotentiary minister in The Hague.
One advantage in terms of continuity may be one or more members of current the NA-led interim cabinet returning. If all three do this it would open seats in the new parliament to take office on February 10 for Ana Richardson (175 votes), Angelique Romou (169) and Solange Duncan (162). More candidates can get in if any other MP-elect takes up one of NA’s remaining executive branch posts.
None of UP’s four MPs-elect are currently in government, but if any of them become one of the party’s two ministers or acting plenipotentiary minister, seats could become available for Ludmila de Weever (267 votes), Luc Mercelina (248) and Kevin Maingrette (135).
Both party leaders talked about a stable government, so hopes are high that the electorate will not once more have to face an early return to the polls. Then again, with the first sign of dissidence already visible, that very much remains to be seen.