Annual report 2015

2015 was a special year for the Electoral Council in several respects. Combined elections for provincial councils and the governing boards of the water authorities were held for the first time on 18 March. Furthermore, elections to the three island councils of Saba, Sint Eustatius and Bonaire, elections to the Senate and redivision elections were organized this year. Since 1 July 2015, voters can request a referendum on almost any recently enacted law (and treaty). A sufficient number of preliminary and final requests were submitted for one particular referendable Act: the Act approving the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. This referendum will be held on 6 April 2016. The Electoral Council made 14 recommendations in 2015 - a record number.

Cartoon regarding the Electoral Council's Annual report 2015
©Teun Berserik

The combined elections led to a greater need for information and support from the Electoral Council among municipalities, political parties and voters. The Electoral Council acted as the central electoral committee for these elections and, as such, was responsible for registering party names and determining the lists of candidates and election results.

Recommendations

The Electoral Council made 14 recommendations in 2015. Most of the recommendations were made to the Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations. Two recommendations – following private member’s bills van MP Klein – were made to the House of Representatives. The Electoral Council also made four ‘spontaneous’ recommendations: two recommendations following the elections, one on the penal provisions in the electoral process and one following a motion which was passed by the island council of Bonaire on 26 May 2015.

Recommendation on penal provisions in electoral process

On 12 June the Electoral Council submitted a recommendation on a study on the penal provisions in the electoral process to the Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations. This recommendation argues for tightening the criminalization of the abuse of proxy voting and extending the possibility of depriving individuals of the right to vote. On 18 June the Electoral Council organized, in cooperation with VU University Amsterdam, the symposium ‘procurement of proxy votes and deprivation of the right to vote’ on the study and the recommendations following therefrom.