Aruba & Netherlands

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In the past six months, the situation on Aruba has been calm until the election period started. The Netherlands Antilles is facing elections next year and it is to be expected that the situation on the five islands will remain calm. In the wake of the Aruba elections and on Elections Day, September 25th, incidents that deserve attention occurred: Nelson Andrade, editor, photographer and reporter of Aruba´s Diario newspaper/local NBC affiliate ATV 15 decided to take the former Minister of Education, Infrastructure and Social Affairs, Marisol Lopez-Tromp, to court requesting a rectification after she declared in a press conference that about 10 years ago he had committed a “hit and run” accident leaving helpless victims behind. At the time he had the right of way, his car was hit and all parties were injured. The Minister’s accusations came after Andrade reported that she had hit an empty parked car and “run,” in a parking lot that was fully equipped with video surveillance. On Elections Day, September 25, Nelson O. Oduber, Aruba’s former Prime Minister and Chapultepec signatory (May 2002), once again attacked Diario newspaper, holding up clippings and warning that in his next government he would put an end to the type of articles and caricatures he was showing. At the same time he demanded that his political party’s candidates not advertise or give interviews to any person linked to that newspaper. During the campaign, Oduber repeatedly refused to grant interviews and statements to various media and his supporters even blocked off access to him while in public. Furthermore, he declared that he intended to close down Canal 90 radio which had participated in a fierce campaign against his administration and supported his greatest opponent in a manner he deemed damaging to his image. IAPA registered a complaint against Oduber for his acts against Diario newspaper, when a full page ad was published announcing a boycott similar to the one issued verbally on Election Day. The law on control of radio and television stations remains unchanged. An old law is still in effect but little used; a failed attempt was made during the elections to revive application of its terms. The former administration has repeatedly been accused by various media of ongoing unfair distribution of its advertisement, including placements by its institutions and foundations. A new government, including the Parliament and Council of Ministers, was sworn in on October 29 and 30, 2009. The new Prime Minister, Mr. Michiel G. Eman and eight other members of his cabinet signed their support to the Declaration of Chapultepec in September 2007 while in their posts as members of Parliament.

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