Opposition wins majority in Aruba's elections
ORANJESTAD, Aruba (AP) -- The main opposition party swept to power in
Aruba's elections Friday, marking the first time a single party has taken
control of the Dutch island's Parliament since the early 1980s, according to
The People's Electoral Movement party won 12 seats in the 21-seat Parliament,
electoral officials said late Friday.
Turnout was high, with more than 90 percent of the Caribbean island's 56,000
registered voters casting ballots.
The results put opposition leader Nelson Oduber on firm footing to be the
prime minister. His party won only nine seats in the last elections in 1997.
The preliminary results marked a defeat for the People's Party of Prime
Henny Eman, which had run the last government in a coalition with the smaller
Aruba Liberal Organization party.
Although the parties of Eman and Oduber are the most popular, neither has
able to garner enough support to govern alone in recent years. Aruba's last four
coalitions have not made it through full four-year terms. The prime minister's party
fell one seat short of a majority in the last elections in 1997.
Oduber joined protests against the privatization of the telephone company
and accuses the government of mismanaging the economy. His party won about
24,000 votes, according to preliminary results -- winning just enough seats to
clinch a majority.
Voters crowded outside polling places earlier in the day to choose a new
government. The early elections were forced by a dispute over how to manage the
vital tourism industry.
Aruba's governing coalition collapsed in June after the transportation
ministers of the Aruba Liberal Organization party disagreed with Eman's party over
how to privatize the Tourism Ministry.
The September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States also have created
problems for Caribbean tourist businesses, which are largely dependent on
American visitors. Aruba's hotels are near ly empty, and U.S. airlines are flying here
Aruba, an autonomous department of the Netherlands with about 90,000 residents,
plans to swear in the new 21-seat Parliament on October 30.
Copyright 2001 The Associated Press.