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Suriname Politics

State and politics

In accordance with the 1987 Constitution, Parliament has 51 members who are elected in general elections every five years. Parliament appoints the President, who is head of state and government, and appoints the other members of the government who are responsible to Parliament.

Government and Politics of Suriname

Also see Suriname Political Reviews.

The military plays a major role, not least in the National Council, which has significant political influence. In the years 1980–88, military dictatorship prevailed under Officer Dési Bouterse, who, even after the transition to democracy, is a force to be reckoned with in Surinamese politics. He ran for president in 2005, when then-President Ronald Venetiaan (born 1936) was re-elected for a second term. However, Bouterse was appointed president in both 2010 and 2015. He was sentenced in November 2019 by a military court to 20 years in prison for a 1982 massacre, but decided to appeal the verdict and remain at the presidential post.

Suriname has a large number of political parties, but ideological dividing lines are difficult to discern. Also see AbbreviationFinder for abbreviation of SR and its meanings of Suriname.


The legal system in Suriname is based on a combination of Dutch legal heritage and domestic legislation. The death penalty remains in the penal code but is de facto abolished in 1982.

Heads of State


1975-80 Johan HE Ferrier
1980-82 Hendrik Chin A. Sen
1982-88 Lachmipersad Fred Ramdat-Misier
1988-90 Ramsewak Shankar
1990-91 Johan Kragen
1991-96 Ronald Venetiaan
1996-2000 Jules Wijdenbosch
2000-2010 Ronald Venetiaan
2010- This is Bouterse
Other Countries in South America

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