Suriname, a former colony of the Netherlands, achieved its independence in 1975. It is located on the north coast of South America, between the Cooperative Republic of Guyana and French Guiana, and encompasses an area of 63,020 square miles. It has a population of slightly more than 400,000 and a 1987 per capita gross national product of $2,360. When it became independent, it had a democratic parliamentary regime similar to that of the Netherlands.
In February 1980, the elected government of Minister President Henck Arron was overthrown by a military coup led by noncommissioned and junior officers. An eight-man National Military Council (MNR), headed by ex-sergeant Desire (Desi) Bouterse, was formed as the effective ruling body.
President Johan Ferrier refused to allow the MNR to be the supreme power, and he appointed a civilian administration headed by Henck Chin A. Sen, a leader of the Nationalist Republic Party (PNR). In August, after Bouterse staged a second coup, he replaced Ferrier with Chin A. Sen, dissolved the legislature, and declared a state of emergency. In February 1982, Bouterse ousted Chin A. Sen, who went to the Netherlands, where he formed the Movement for the Liberation of Suriname in January 1983.
The vice president of the Supreme Court, L. Fred Ramdat Misier, was made interim president by Bouterse. Then, following an unsuccessful coup attempt against Bouterse, a twelve-member cabinet with a civilian majority was appointed, with moderate economist Henry Neyhorst as prime minister. The failure of Bouterse to fulfill the promises he had made to trade union leaders and leftwing politicians made them turn against him and join in the demand for a return to constitutional government.
In October 1982, after the arrest of Cyriel Daal, leader of the country's largest trade union, Die Moederbond, caused strikes and demonstrations, Bouterse promised new elections and a new constitution by March 1983. But, in December 1982, the army burned down a number of buildings used by the opposition, which provoked renewed demonstrations. The army rounded up and killed
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Publication information: Book title: Political Parties of the Americas, 1980s to 1990s:Canada, Latin America, and the West Indies. Contributors: Charles D. Ameringer - Editor. Publisher: Greenwood Press. Place of publication: Westport, CT. Publication year: 1992. Page number: 565.
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