NDP loses majority in parliament after the elections of 25 May 2020
DNA Chairman J. Geerlings-Simons will need to make room for a candidate from an oppositional party
With only a few more days until the elections of 25 May, a substantial part of the voters are still undecided. The huge loss of the NDP in Paramaribo alone, as they will go from nine (9) seats to five (5) seats in DNA, will cause the party to end up as an oppositional party on 25 May 2020. For the NDP the loss of the parliamentary majority will mean that, at the first DNA meeting, which will take place in the month June, the new DNA Chairman will be from the current opposition. With the appointment of a new DNA Chairman, the era of Jennifer Geerlings-Simons will end.
IDOS conducted a final public opinion poll on 20 May 2020 in Paramaribo with a sample size of 554 and an error margin of approximately 3 percent.
The undecided voters
The Corona pandemic has an implacable effect on the community, including on the planning of various research bureaus’ such as IDOS. This also had an implacable effect on the campaign methods and the campaign funds of the political parties who often had to do a complete 180 when it came to their well-known campaign methods. They even had to introduce new tactics in order to influence the voting behavior of the voters. The results of this, with only a few days to go until the elections of 25 May 2020, is that the majority of the voters are undecided. In a public opinion polls that IDOS conducted on 20 May, 34.3 percent of the voters in Paramaribo stated that they had yet to make a clear choice as to whom they would vote for. In addition, 17.9 percent stated that voting is classified, so they were unwilling to give that information to IDOS. The other half of the voters who stated that they will vote, were able to clearly state to us for whom they will vote for. These same results were also measured by IDOS during a public opinion poll that was conducted on 7 May 2020.
Various IDOS public opinion polls in 2019 – 2020
In the past six months, IDOS conducted six public opinion polls of which three were nationwide in 2019 (Excluding the electoral district Sipaliwini, Resort Sarakreek from the electoral district Brokopondo and Resort Galibi from the electoral district Marowijne). In addition, the last public opinion polls conducted in March and May 2020 included the electoral districts Para, Coronie, Commewijne, Nickerie and Paramaribo.
In the following section we will focus on the results as they were measured in the electoral district Paramaribo, because the biggest change in voters preference is expected in this electoral district and this change, to a certain extend, will play an important role in the loss of the parliamentary majority on which the NDP supports on.
An average amount of votes of 16 percent gives, with a voter’s turnout of 78 percent, four (4) DNA seats in Paramaribo. (78 Percent is the voter’s turnout from 2015 regarding Paramaribo and for an easy calculation we have kept to this).
Now you will surely say that part of those who are second-guessing or kept their preference for themselves, can also vote for the NDP. Correct. When we apply this percentage of voters that stated they will vote for the NDP on the group of undecided voters and the other group who did have a preference but did not want to reveal this, we see that after such application the NDP will win 24.4% of the votes in the electoral district Paramaribo on 25 May 2020.
For comparison: In 2015, the NDP received 49.2 percent of the votes in the electoral district Paramaribo, which was good for nine (9) seats in parliament. The oppositional parties (V7, AC and DOE) gained 48.3 percent of the votes and that was good for eight (8) seats in parliament. With a decrease of 24 percent in votes, the NDP is good for a maximum of five (5) seats in parliament for Paramaribo. We can also state that the NDP will have a huge decrease in Paramaribo, as they will go from having nine (9) seats in parliament to four (4) – with a maximum of five (5) - seats in parliament.
Based on what has been given, “important” political parties have made it known that they are unwilling to form a coalition with the NDP, and from this we can state that the huge loss of the NDP in Paramaribo alone, will make sure that the NDP will be send to the opposition on 25 May 2020. In addition to losing seats in the electoral district Paramaribo, you can also expect that this trend will continue forth in the other districts.
A factor that makes it rather difficult to make a relatively good prediction is caused by the high percentage of undecided voters (45 percent and higher) which we came across in almost all districts except for Brokopondo.
The expectation of IDOS, based on the “available data”, is that the NDP will come out of the election battle with 14 to 17 seats.
For the NDP one of the consequences of having lost the majority in parliament is that at the first DNA meeting, which will take place in the month June, the new DNA Chairman will be from the current opposition. With the appointment of a news DNA Chairman, the era of Jennifer Geerlings-Simons will come to an end.