Continued from page 2


Ex-premier claims bloodless coup

KINGSTON, Jamaica — Curacao’s former leader was holed up Sunday inside what used to be his official offices, accusing the acting governor of overstepping her constitutional powers by forming an interim government three weeks before general elections on the Dutch Caribbean island.

But the Dutch government said in a statement that former Prime Minister Gerrit Schotte’s administration was legally replaced and urged the interim government to make sure the run up to the Oct. 19 election and the vote itself run smoothly.

Mr. Schotte dissolved Parliament and called elections after his government lost its legislative majority Aug. 3.

Then acting Gov. Adeel van der Pluijm-Vrede swore in a new administration to replace Mr. Schotte’s on Saturday, something he called a bloodless “coup.”

Mr. Schotte insisted there should have been no changes until the election in which he plans to run again as leader of the Curacao Future Movement.

“The reality is that this is a coup because they have no constitutional basis to do this. There is some hidden agenda to stop the election or manipulate the election,” Mr. Schotte told the Associated Press on Sunday by telephone from the prime minister’s offices, where he said he slept on a sofa overnight.

Several supporters have joined him in the government house in Willemstad, he said.

Mr. Schotte is seeking support from regional governments including Venezuela, 35 miles away. Meanwhile, he’s been sending “the message to everyone to stay relaxed.”

On Sunday, Curacao issued a statement stressing that the appointment of interim leader Stanley Betrian and three other ministers was “based on the will of a majority in Parliament.”

Five political parties had called for an interim government to prepare for the Oct. 19 vote and manage the island’s affairs.

Parliamentarians also have alleged that Mr. Schotte was misusing public funds to help his faction, a claim he denies.

From wire dispatches and staff reports