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Nationale Assemblee (National Assembly)

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Parliament name (generic / translated) Nationale Assemblee / National Assembly
Structure of parliament Unicameral
Dates of election / renewal (from/to) 25 May 2005
Purpose of elections Elections were held for all the seats in the National Assembly on the normal expiry of the members' term of office.
Suriname is one of the smallest countries in South America with a population of 492 000 inhabitants. It is a truly multi-cultural nation. Most political parties are ethnic-based. The ruling New Front for Democracy and Development (NF) for example currently includes Hindustani Javanese and Creole political parties.

Of the nine political organizations registered for the 25 May 2005 election three were expected to be the main contenders. The NF coalition led by President Ronald Venetiaan the National Democratic Party (NDP) led by former military ruler Mr. Desl Bouterse who dominated the country's political scene in the 1980s and the Coalition for People's Alliance for Prosperity (VVV) of former president Jules Wijdenbosh. These political groups had respectively won 33 seven and 5 seats in the 2000 election. President Venetiaan needed a two-thirds majority (34 votes) in the National Assembly to secure his position.

After becoming President in 1991 Mr. Venetiaan took serious measures to combat high inflation and volatile exchange rates. Although some of his policies were deemed unpopular they are credited for the stable currency and budget surplus. His main rival Mr. Bouterse appealed to young and poor voters arguing that the NF coalition had not improved people's lives.

The polls went off without any serious incidents. Observers from the Organisation of American States (OAS) praised the country for a peaceful and orderly election. Turnout was low due to rain on polling day.

The final results indicated a complex political situation with no party securing a majority. The NF coalition came in first but its number of seats was reduced to 23. The NDP more than doubled its representation to 15 seats while the VVV took five. The A Combination representing the Maroons (descendants of former slaves) entered the Assembly for the first time with five seats. The group is led by Mr. Ronnie Brunswijk a former jungle rebel leader who fought against Mr. Bouterse during the Bush War in 1986. The remaining three seats went to the electoral coalition Alternative-1 (A-1) composed of four parties. After the election one member of the A-1 group (from the DA'91 party) joined the ruling coalition. The two remaining elected members of A-1 joined the opposition.

Members were sworn in on 30 June 2005 and elected Mr. Paul Salam Somohardjo as speaker.

In a parliamentary vote to elect the president on 19 July no candidate secured the necessary two-thirds majority of 34 votes. Mr. Venetiaan obtained 27 votes against 20 for Mr. Parmessar. A second vote on 26 July produced the same result as the first round. Under the Surinamese Constitution the United People's Assembly a 891-member body representing district and regional councils elects the new president when parliament fails to reach an agreement. The regional body therefore convened on 3 August and re-elected Mr. Ronald Venetiaan as president with 560 votes. He was sworn in on 12 August 2005.
Voter turnout
Round no 125 May 2005
Number of registered electors
Blank or invalid ballot papers
Valid votes
155'888 (46.68%)
Notes Of the 333 985 voters who were registered in 2005 253 500 received ballot cards and 155 888 voted in the parliamentary election.
Distribution of votes
Round no 1
Political Group Candidates Votes %
New Front for Democracy and Development (NF) 45.10
National Democratic Party (NDP) 29.40
People's Alliance for Progress (VVV) 9.80
A Combination 9.80
Alternative-1 (A-1) 5.90
Distribution of seats
Round no 1
Political Group Total
New Front for Democracy and Development (NF) 23
National Democratic Party (NDP) 15
People's Alliance for Progress (VVV) 5
A Combination 5
Alternative-1 (A-1) 3
Distribution of seats according to sex
Percent of women
Distribution of seats according to age
21 to 30 years
31 to 40 years
41 to 50 years
51 to 60 years
61 to 70 years
Distribution of seats according to profession
Educators 13
Civil/public servants/administrators (including social/development workers) 12
Business/trade/industry employees including executives 6
Legal professions 5
Scientists 4
Economists 4
Medical professions (doctors dentists nurses) 4
Others 3
Source: National Assembly (31.01.2006)

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