Indian-origin leader elected Suriname President
Chandrikapersad Santokhi has been elected the President ...
Chandrikapersad Santokhi has been elected the President of Suriname by the Latin American country’s National Assembly, according to media reports. A former Justice Minister, Santokhi of the Progressive Reform Party (PRP) was elected unopposed on Monday, the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) reported in July. He will succeed Desi Bouterse, a former military strongman, whose National Party of Suriname (NPS) lost the election in May as he sent the country to an economic precipice.
Suriname is a former Dutch colony where people of Indian descent make up the largest ethnic group comprising 27.4 percent of the population of 587,000. The PRP, known in the Dutch language as Vooruitstrevende Hervormingspartij or VHP by its initials, largely represents the Indian community and had originally been called the United Hindustani Party. Santokhi inherits an economy run to the ground by the populist Bouterse, who mismanaged the country while forging closer ties with China and Venezuela. Speaking at the National Assembly, Santokhi acknowledged that the country faced an economic collapse and said his government will reorient policies to work for Suriname’s recovery. Suriname had depended on bauxite exports but recently vast oil reserves have been found in its territorial waters and they could help the country tide over the economic crisis when they eventually come on line.