Former Justice Minister And Rebel Leader Nominated For President And Vice-President Of Suriname

Chandrikapersad Santokhi

The coalition partners have named former justice minister Chandrikapersad Santokhi and former rebel leader, Ronnie Brunswijk for the positions of President and Vice-President, respectively, following the general elections held on May 25.

Santokhi, 61, the leader of the Progressive Reform Party (VHP) and Brunswijk, 59, who led the General Liberation and Development Party (ABOP) are seeking to replace President Desi Bouterse in the elections for the head of state scheduled for July.

The VHP and ABOP are part of the coalition that includes The National Party of Suriname (NPS) and the Pertjajah Luhur (PL), the coalition controls 33 of the 51 seats in the parliament.

But while Bouterse’s National Democratic Party (NDP) lost its majority in the Parliament, the coalition does not have the 34 seats required to ensure the victory for Santokh and Brunswijk.

Persons seeking nomination must under the law be nominated by at least seven Assembly members.

During Monday’s parliamentary sitting it was decided that the elections of the new president and vice president will be held on July 13.

It is as yet clear whether or not the NDP will come up with its own candidates. The Brotherhood and Unity in Politics (BEP) had earlier indicated that it would have supported the coalition in the election of the head of state and his deputy in order to avoid the matter going before the United People’s Assembly.

Brunswijk is a Surinamese ex-rebel leader, politician, and businessman. After having served in the early 1980s as the personal bodyguard of Bouterse, who overthrew the government in 1980 in a military coup, Brunswijk left and formed the Surinamese Liberation Army, better known as the Jungle Commando

Political observers note that if the President and Vice President are elected on July 13, their inauguration will take place on July 17.

They said that the inauguration will be a sober ceremony given the measures in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) as well as to cut costs.

– CMC

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