The Aruba government has collapsed amidst a corruption scandal and voters will now go to the polls in June, three months ahead of the constitutionally due date in September.
Prime minister Evelyn Wever-Croes made the shock announcement in a Facebook post.
“There are times when it is necessary to make difficult decisions, but when one follows the path of integrity and puts God first, one knows you are on a good path,” the leader of the coalition-leading MEP (Movimiento Electoral di Pueblo/People's Electoral Movement) wrote on Tuesday March 31st.
It follows an investigation by the Dutch Caribbean territory’s Public Prosecution Service into her coalition partner POR (Pueblo Orguyoso y Respeta/Proud and Respected People) party on allegations of embezzlement.
Bank accounts of a foundation connected to the POR were seized, but the leader, Minister of Justice Andin Bikker, distanced himself from his own party in the process.
The POR was also embroiled in a scandal last year involving another minister.
Voters will now go to the polls on June 25th to elect 21 members to the Aruba parliament called the Estates.
Coming out of the 2017 election, a coalition of the MEP, POR and RED (Red Democratico/Network of Electoral Democracy) parties formed the government forcing the powerful AVP (The Aruban People's Party/Arubaanse Volkspartij) into opposition.
Ten parties, two more than 2017, will contest the June election.
Aruba which operates under a proportional representation parliamentary system is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It has full autonomy over internal affairs, while the Dutch government handles foreign and defence policy with broad Kingdom oversight on governance issues.
The tourism-dependent island has been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Aruba has recorded 9,560 cases with 84 deaths and its economy has contracted by a quarter in the past year.
June's snap election follows polls elsewhere in the Dutch Kingdom in the past month.
In Curacao, a new government was installed led by Gilmar Pisas of populist Future of Curaçao/Movementu Futura Korsou (MFK) party, while in The Netherlands, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte is in talks to lead the new coalition government following snap elections there.