Government & Politics
Historically, Aruba has been part of the Netherlands Antilles, which was a six island federation that also included Bonaire, Curaçao, St.Maarten, Saba and St. Eustatius On January 1st, 1986, Aruba became a separate entity within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Netherlands Antilles was dissolved in October 2010, and the countries that formed part of it still remain within the Kingdom but have varying statuses within it. Collectively the islands are still often referred to as the Dutch Caribbean. After dissolution, the "BES islands" of the Dutch Caribbean — Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba — became the Caribbean Netherlands, "special municipalities" of the Netherlands proper — a structure that only exists in the Caribbean. Meanwhile Curaçao and Sint Maarten became constituent countries within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, along the lines of Aruba, which separated from the Netherlands Antilles in 1986.
Aruba has its own constitution, based on Western democratic principles. The King of the Netherlands appoints the governor of Aruba who holds office for a 6-year term, and acts as her representative.
Legislative, executive and judicial powers are vested in parliament which is housed in Aruba's capital, Oranjestad. The Aruban parliament consists of 21 members elected for a four-year term by proportional representation. Each member holds their seats until Parliament is dissolved which is every four years by a general election. The leader of the party who gains majority usually becomes the Prime Minister.
The party (or parties) obtaining legislative majority are asked by the Governor to form a 7- member Council of Ministers vested with executive powers and headed by a Prime Minister.
Legal jurisdiction lies with the Gerecht in Eerste Aanleg (Court of First Instance) on Aruba, the Gemeenschappelijk Hof van Justitie van Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten, en van Bonaire, Sint Eustatius en Saba (Joint Court of Justice of Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten, and of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba) and the Hoge Raad der Nederlanden (Supreme Court of Justice of the Netherlands).
Although Aruba has a separate status, it still retains strong economic, cultural, political and defense ties with Holland and her "sister" islands. In fact, although matters such as aviation, customs, immigration, communications and other internal matters are handled autonomously by the Aruban government; the Kingdom is still responsible for defense, citizenship and foreign affairs.
Political History - A summary
In our present status Aruba forms part of the Royal Dutch Kingdom. Almost 500 years ago, to be exact, in 1499, Aruba was discovered by Alonso de Ojeda and was considered "Spanish" territory.
During the Spanish/French/English expansion waves, Aruba became Spanish, French and English for the time these privateers/pirates used Aruba as a safe haven as well as a bunker for fresh water and supplies.
After New York was claimed by the English and the Antilles were given to Peter Stuyvesant in return for New York, Aruba became, with the 5 other islands making up the Dutch Antilles, the colony known at that time as Curaçao. It was not until 1954 that Aruba together with the 5 other islands, Bonaire, Curaçao, St. Maarten, St. Eustatius and Saba, were granted self-government by the Dutch.
As Aruba's economy was boosted by the establishment of the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey (Exxon), the cry for independence (read "Status Aparte") became more and more vivid. During this period the political parties A.V.P. (Arubaanse Volks Partij), U.N.A. (Union Nacionalista Arubano) governed the island. Subsequently the P.P.A. (Partido Patriotico Arubano) founded by Mr. Juancho Irausquin, a previous A.V.P. member, governed the island for almost two decades and was considered to be the founder of the New Economic Order of Aruba. After the passing away of the P.P.A. founder/leader, who was also seen as the trend setter of modern Aruban politics, an internal struggle for power, coupled with the reentry of A.V.P. to the political arena, made them a less powerful party .
Soon enough, a young ambitious schoolmaster/politician from the A.V.P. became the leader of a new political party - M.E.P. (Movimiento Electoral di Pueblo). This ambitious young politician emerged as the driving force for the next generation towards the realization of our new "Status Aparte" in the Dutch Kingdom. This was achieved in 1985 and made official as of 1st January 1986. Mr. Gilberto François Croes (better known as "Betico Croes") became the modern "liberator" of the Aruban cause, namely to become an independent partner within the Royal Dutch Kingdom.
Today, Aruba can look back and be thankful that 60 years ago the A.V.P. started off a cause that allows our island, through substantial economic reforms of the P.P.A. and the very persistent struggle of the M.E.P., to be proudly recognized as a highly successful, well-developed and tourism-oriented island economy within the Royal Dutch Kingdom.
The current governor of Aruba is Juan Alfonso Boekhoudt and is the 4th governor of Aruba, since January 1, 2017. He was Minister Plenipotentiary of Aruba from November 14, 2013 to November 17, 2016.
As of 2018 election a coalition of the MEP, POR and RED parties form the government of Aruba. (see parties below).
Political Parties in Aruba
Currently, Aruba has the following political parties.
- AVP (Arubaanse Volkspartij)
- MEP (Movimiento Electoral di Pueblo)
- POR (Pueblo Orguyoso y Respeta)
- RED (Red Democratico)
- UPP-PPA (Partido Patriotico Arubano)