Suriname votes for a new Government
The 51 seats in the National Assembly will be contested in a general election today. The ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) is hoping to grab the 26 seats needed for an overall majority and more hopefully 34 seats which would allow Desi Bouterse to be re-elected as President.
If no party gets at least 34 seats then an Electoral College of 933 representatives from the National Assembly and local council representatives is likely to be formed to elect a new President.
The ruling New Front for Democracy and Development (NFDO) which consisted of four parties was reduced from 23 to 14 seats in the 2010 election and a new alliance, the Mega Combination which included the National Democratic Party (NDP) won 23 seats (the NDP had previously held 15 seats).
Twenty-five parties have registered for this election with 15 of the parties being part of coalitions. The National Democratic Party (NDP) led by former dictator Desi Bouterse (1980 – 1987) has run the country since 2010 and is the party with the largest membership going in to this campaign. A new grouping of six opposition parties called V7 and led by Chandrika Persad Santokhi is hoping to stop the NDP.
There are about 350,000 eligible voters and they will vote at 623 polling stations between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. local time.