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Suriname`s DesiBouterse set for second elected term as President

Suriname`s President Desi Bouterse will be sworn in for a second term on Wednesday as the elected president of this small South American country.



Paramaribo: Suriname`s President Desi Bouterse will be sworn in for a second term on Wednesday as the elected president of this small South American country.

Speaker of Parliament Jennifer Simons will lead his inauguration ceremony at the Anthony Nesty Indoor Stadium (ANS).

The 69-year-old Bouterse -- who has ruled Suriname on and off since 1980 -- was elected last month by lawmakers. There was no opposition, and he was re-elected by acclamation.

His ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) only has a small majority in the 51-seat National Assembly. Bouterse theoretically needed a two-thirds majority to win, but opposition parties did not present a candidate.

His vice president will be Ashwin Adhin, 35.

In addition to some Latin American leaders, Teodoro Obiang of Equatorial Guinea, David Granger of Guyana and former president of Ghana Jerry Rawlings, were expected to attend.

With Suriname in the grips of recession, Bouterse set up a Financial Economic Platform two weeks ago, with representatives of labor unions, political parties, manufacturers among others.

The task force recommended raising taxes, increasing fees on utilities and cutting back on government spending such as closing embassies in some foreign countries.

Meanwhile Bouterse agreed last week to be questioned by Dutch scientist and columnist Dew Baboeram on killings committed during Bouterse`s military regime in the 1980s.

Baboeram is the brother of a Surinamese lawyer John Baboeram, who was tortured and gunned down during the December 8, 1982 killings led by Bouterse.

A two-time coup leader and former international fugitive, Bouterse has long loomed large over Suriname, whether in his military fatigues and sunglasses or his sharp presidential suits.

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. He left power a year later.

In 2010, Bouterse`s election as president protected him from an Interpol arrest warrant issued after a Dutch court sentenced him to 11 years in prison for cocaine trafficking.

And in 2012, a controversial amnesty law granted him immunity from prosecution over the "December killings."

Dutch-speaking Suriname, the smallest country in South America, has a population of about half a million people with roots in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas.

It was colonized by the British and Dutch and gained independence from the Netherlands in 1975.

From Zee News

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