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Suriname elects Indian-origin ‘Chan’ Santokhi as President

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on July 15, 2020 Published on July 15, 2020

South American country Suriname brought an end to dictatorial rule by electing a new President Chan Santokhi on Monday. Santokhi is an Indian-origin former police chief, who won a landslide victory in the election that took place in May this year, the New York Times reported.

Chandrikapersad ‘Chan’ Santokhi replaced dictator Desi Bouterse, who is facing murder charges along with smuggling of drugs, in the country which has a sizeable Hindu population.

61-year-old Santokhi belongs to the Progressive Reform Party and will be sworn in as President on July 16. Santokhi was the sole nomination for President of Suriname.

The Progressive Reform Party won 20 of the 51 seats in the National Assembly, enough to form a coalition government with the General Liberation and Development Party, which is led by Ronnie Brunswijk, who will serve as vice-president, BBC reported.

According to the New York Times report, Suriname, a former Dutch colony, is on the brink of bankruptcy and major economic crisis during Bouterse’s rule. The country is struggling with widespread corruption and drug menace.

As far as coronavirus is concerned, Suriname has reported over 780 cases and 18 deaths so far.

Suriname’s relations with the Netherlands, which was once its primary trade partner, worsened under Bouterse’s rule.

Bouterse “shifted Suriname’s foreign alliances away from the Netherlands and toward China and nearby Venezuela, whose redistributive economic policies and anti-imperialist rhetoric he copied at home,” the New York Times reported.

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Published on July 15, 2020
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