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Populism in the Caribbean; Political leadership Curacao

While many denounce the elites, Wiels addresses the old elites and Pierre and Leeflang address the new elites who sponsored the PS and MFK election campaign.The PAR is headed by the charismatic Mrs. de Jongh-Elhage, but its day-to-days pokesperson is Mrs. Leeflang. Leeflang defends institutions and there fore cannot be labeled as a populist, in that sense.

All political leaders glorify “the people” and incline toward conspiracy theories. Where the coalition of PS, MAN and FMK aims for independence, the other parties, to different degrees, value the relationship with the Netherlands, at least for the time being. Where Wiels plays the racist card, Pierre and Leeflang play the anti-racism card, arguing for inclusiveness in a multi-cultural Curaçao.

There have been several changes in the discourse of Pierre of the NPA. He is more in favour of the mother country and promotes a more Christian agenda rather than a socialist agenda. All the politicians to some extent play the socialist and religious card.

Godett of the FOL was a very successful populist who reached his summit in the elections of 2003.  His slogan was “solo el pueblo, salva el pueblo” (only the people, save the people). He was the opposition to the PAR, who he labeled as the party of the establishment. When he was freed after serving a prison sentence for corruption, the people supported him in a big way. He lost his position after forming a coalition with the PAR and others.

The career of Cooper of the MAN is indecline. In the last election he remained the political leader but did not head the party into the election. His greatest achievement was the improvement of infrastructure in the poor neighborhoods. This formula was invented by Godett in his better days, but Cooper lost ground because of his many opportunistic moves to remain part of the governing coalition.

Davelaar emerged suddenly from to be elected the political leader of the PNP. The party has been declining for years. The party is trying to rejuvenate itself, but has not been successful at the present time.

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