Suriname. A bill that would have enabled large timber deliveries to a Malaysian company had to be withdrawn at the beginning of the year due to both national and international environmental considerations. The proposed legislation would have allowed the exploitation of the forests covering 10% of the country’s area.
- ABBREVIATIONFINDER.ORG: What does SR stand for? In the field of geography, this two letter acronym means Suriname. Check this to see its other meanings in English and other 35 languages.
On May 23, general elections were held in Suriname. No party was given the necessary two-thirds of the mandate to elect a president. Instead, the election resulted in extended coalition negotiations. The incumbent President Ronald Venetian’s New Front Party (NF) gained 24 seats in the 51-strong parliament. In second place was former military leader Desiré “Desi” Bouterses party National Democratic Party (NDP) with 16 seats. It was apparently laid down for a coalition between the two parties. Instead, the NDP merged with some smaller parties, thus gaining a majority in parliament. Jules Wijdenbosch was elected new president because the NDP’s coalition parties did not want Bouterse back as president. Pressures from the country’s former colonial power and largest donor, the Netherlands.
According to Countryaah.com, the population of Suriname in 1996 was 441,740, ranking number 167 in the world. The population growth rate was 1.750% yearly, and the population density was 2.8324 people per km2.
The presidential republic of Suriname emerged from a long colonial past. First explored by the Spaniards, the region passed to the English in the seventeenth century and then became a Dutch colony from 1667 to 1975, the year of independence. Ethnic fragmentation bears witness to the colonial past: eight different ethnic groups coexist in Suriname, including Hindustani, Javanese, African and Amerindian, which make up communities of Christians, Hindus and Muslims. The political context is based on ethnic multi-partyism.
Five years after independence, the civilian government was replaced by a military regime which, through a succession of administrations only nominally civilian, held power until 1987, when international pressure forced the regime to hold a democratic election. In 1990, the military overthrew the civilian leadership again, but a democratically elected government returned to office in 1991. The last elections of May 2015 saw the affirmation – with the conquest of 26 seats out of 51 – of the National Democratic Party, led by the controversial president Désiré ‘Dési’ Delano Boutsers, who was confirmed head of state. Bouterse, who enjoys immunity following his electoral victory, was not only a supporter of a coup in the 1980swho allowed him to lead the country until 1991, but is also accused of killing 15 of his political opponents (an event known as Decembermoorden, the ‘December crimes’) and of managing drug trafficking to the Netherlands (Bouterse was sentenced in absentia by the Dutch judges in 1999). The Netherlands and other partners have expressed their dissent over Bouterse’s leadership, especially since the national government decided to grant amnesty to the suspected Decembermoorden authors in April 2012.. Subsequently, the Bouterse administration was deprived of financial aid from the former motherland and this reduced the means to counter threats to the country’s security represented by drug trafficking, money laundering and illegal exploitation of gold mines.
Isolated also from a large part of the international community, Bouterse focuses on relations with neighboring countries such as Venezuela and Guyana and with the Caribbean Economic Community (Caricom). In 2012, Suriname also became a member of the Union of South American Nations (Unasur). In addition, it hopes to play a role in the development of a road network linking Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana and Brazil.
Suriname has large mineral deposits of bauxite, gold, silver and nickel, the extraction of which accounts for 85% of exports and 25% of government revenues; the economy is therefore highly vulnerable to mineral price volatility. The driving sectors for employment are also those of agriculture and tourism, which however remain compromised by the strong competition with neighboring countries and by the inadequacy of infrastructures. Canada and the United States are partners for exports and imports respectively. The Surinamese energy sector, as well as offshore oil and gas extraction, discovered on the border with Guyana, can count on hydroelectric plants – which alone satisfy 80% of the national energy needs – and on shore oil reserves, which allow to cover the remaining 20%.