Suriname president`s party protests election results

Suriname`s ruling party National Democratic Party (NDP), led by president Desi Bouterse, has disputed results in several districts of the capital, which now will be recounted Sunday, authorities said.

Paramaribo: Suriname`s ruling party National Democratic Party (NDP), led by president Desi Bouterse, has disputed results in several districts of the capital, which now will be recounted Sunday, authorities said.

The NDP alleged there were problems with polling at 20 stations, its spokesman Winston Lackin told reporters Saturday.

Unofficial results from Monday`s general parliamentary elections give the NDP 26 seats, a small margin of the majority in the 51-seat National Assembly. Of those 26 seats nine are likely to be awarded in the capital, which is the largest electoral district.

Bouterse, 69, will have to muster another eight votes to guarantee his own re-election, since the president is chosen by a two-thirds majority of parliament.

Though the NDP wants to rule alone with its small majority, it needs more support in case a lawmaker drops out and they need 34 votes to re-elect Bouterse.

A two-time coup leader and former international fugitive, Bouterse has long loomed large over Suriname, whether in his military fatigues and sunglasses, his sharp presidential suits or the Che Guevara T-shirts he favors as leisurewear.

He seized power in 1980 as a 34-year-old sergeant major.

His regime put down two counter-coups and rounded up and executed 15 opponents in 1982, an event known as the "December killings."

He stepped down in 1987 under international pressure, but returned to power in 1990 in a second, bloodless coup.

After leaving power a second time, he was indicted and court-martialed for the December killings, but his coalition passed a controversial amnesty law in 2012 that aborted the trial.

His top rival for the presidency is Chan Santokhi, a former police commissioner who led the investigation of the December killings and has vowed to repeal the amnesty law if elected.

The new parliament should have its first meeting within 30 days after being elected and the new president should be sworn-in before August 12, 2015.

The Netherlands convicted Bouterse in absentia of cocaine smuggling in 1999, but he remained free because Suriname does not extradite its citizens.

Earlier this year, a Dutch court rejected his third bid to have the conviction overturned.

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