Curaçao Parliamentary Elections: March 19, 2021

The harbor in Willemstad, Curaçao’s capital. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Mtmelendez (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Freedom House Rating
Free (Netherlands)
Government Type
Parliamentary Democracy; part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Parliamentary Elections
March 19, 2021
Snap Parliamentary Elections
April 28, 2017
Parliamentary Elections
October 5, 2016

Curaçao has scheduled parliamentary elections for March 19, 2021. Voters will elect all 21 members of the Estates, Curaçao’s unicameral parliament.

Political Context

Curaçao is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It has full autonomy over internal affairs, while the Dutch government handles foreign and defense policy. However, the Dutch government periodically intervenes in Curaçao’s politics.

Curaçao held snap parliamentary elections in April 2017, following the collapse of the government of Hensley Koeiman just seven weeks after it was sworn in. The current government is a coalition of the centrist Real Alternative Party (PAR) and social democratic Partido MAN. The main opposition currently in parliament is the pro-independence Movement for the Future of Curaçao (MFK). In addition, the Christian Democratic National People’s Party (PNP), which does not currently have seats in parliament – having lost them in 2017 – is doing well in pre-election polls.

The next elections are set for March 19, 2021.

Geopolitical Context

Because of its proximity to Venezuela, Curaçao is currently home to 17,000 Venezuelan refugees fleeing the crisis, according to the UN-supported Response for Venezuelan (R4V). That number comprises more than 10 percent of Curaçao’s population. These refugees have no protection and often face exploitation, imprisonment, or deportation.

Curated News and Analysis

Curaçao Chronicle (March 15, 2021): Poll: Gain for MFK and PNP, loss for PAR and MAN

Nick Ottens, Atlantic Sentinel (February 26, 2021): Dutch Intervene to Break Stalemate in Curaçao Legislature

Angela Chávez Keri and Beatriz Godoy Rivas, Atlantic Council (December 4, 2020): Boats over troubled waters: Caribbean nations struggle with response to Venezuelan migration crisis

John Otis, NPR (June 21, 2019): Venezuelans Take Risky Voyage To Curaçao To Flee Crisis

Mark Leon Goldberg, UN Dispatch (April 26, 2019): Venezuelan Refugees in Curaçao are Facing Abuse, Detention and Deportation

Lizan Nijkrake, Foreign Policy (January 28, 2019): For Venezuelan Refugees, There’s No Safe Haven in Curacao

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Updated March 18, 2021

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