Government & Politics
Historically, Aruba has been part of the Netherlands Antilles, a six island federation, which 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 Kingdom now consists of three constituents: Holland, Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles (5 islands).
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 by universal suffrage.
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.
Jurisdiction in Aruba lies with a common court of Justice of Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles and a Supreme Court of Justice in 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.
Political Parties in Aruba
Currently, Aruba has seven political parties. These are listed below.
- A.V.P. (Arubaanse Volks Partij)
- M.E.P. (Movimiento Electoral di Pueblo)
- P.D.R. (Partido Democracia Real)
After the election of 2009, the following parties have not established enough votes to participate in government.
- R.E.D. (Red Eternal Democratico)
- M.P.A. (Movimiento Patriotico Aruba)
- M.S.I. (Movimiento Social Independiente)
- P.P.A. (Partido Patriotico Arubano)
Previously entered parties
- M.A.S. (Movimiento Aruba Solidario)
- O.L.A (Organisacion Liberal Arubano)
- C.L.A. (Conscientisacion pa Liberacion di Aruba)
- P.A.R.A. (Partido pa un Aruba Restructura Awor)
- A.D.N. (Accion Democratico Nacional)