Aruba to commence snap parliamentary elections

Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Aruba will hold snap parliamentary elections today.

The island, a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, originally scheduled elections for September 2021. Members of parliament are elected in a mixed open—list/party—list system, giving voters some autonomy over candidate selection.  11 parties are expected to run today.

Today’s elections are the result of an embezzlement scandal in March that forced the ruling social democratic coalition to dissolve parliament. This hit hard as the island’s economy—which relies greatly on tourism—was rocked by the COVID-19 pandemic. Tourism is expected to rebound as global vaccinations increase, but some fear the pace is too slow to prompt quick economic recovery.

Expect the center-right Aruban People’s Party to win seats this election due to the previous administration’s scandal. Still, this will bring few policy changes as the island is mainly focused on restarting tourism to rebuild the economy.  Short-term prospects for recovery are dull with high airfare prices and lagging global vaccination efforts complicating tourist travel.  Nevertheless, a medium­- to long-term recovery is more likely as travel prices drop and vaccinations increase. In the meantime, Aruba may instead look to oil and natural gas to diversify their tourism-dependent economy.

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