President of Suriname

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President of the Republic of Suriname
President van de Republiek Suriname
Flag of the President of Suriname.svg
Standard of the President of Suriname
Chandrikapersad Santokhi (cropped).jpg
Chan Santokhi

since 16 July 2020
Style Mr. President (Informal)
His Excellency (Diplomatic)
Status Head of State
Head of Government
Residence Presidential Palace of Suriname
Seat Paramaribo
Appointer National Assembly
Term length Five years, renewable
Constituting instrument Constitution of Suriname
Precursor Governor-General of Suriname
Inaugural holder Johan Ferrier
Formation25 November 1975
Deputy Vice President of Suriname
Salary133,560 USD annually [1] [2]
Website Cabinet of the President

The president of the Republic of Suriname (Dutch : President van de Republiek Suriname) is, in accordance with the Constitution of 1987, the head of state and head of government of Suriname, and commander-in-chief of the Suriname National Army (SNL).


The current president is Chan Santokhi, a former chief of police. He is affiliated with the Progressive Reform Party (VHP). Santokhi was elected on 13 July 2020 as president by acclamation in an uncontested election, [3] and inaugurated on 16 July on the Onafhankelijkheidsplein in Paramaribo in a ceremony without the public presence due to the COVID-19 pandemic. [4] [5]


The office of president was created upon independence from the Netherlands in 1975. Until 1987, the role was largely ceremonial. The first officeholder was Johan Ferrier, a schoolteacher and veteran politician who had served as governor since 1968. He resigned as president in August 1980, several months after a coup d'état. From then until 1988, the titular Presidents were essentially army-installed puppets of Lt. Col. Bouterse, who ruled as a dictator with few practical checks on his power. Democracy was restored in 1988, the year after the adoption of the constitution, in which the duties and responsibilities of the president were included. On 24 December 1990, two days after Bouterse's resignation as army commander, the army called president Ramsewak Shankar to inform him that he and his cabinet were removed from office. Police Chief and Acting Commander of the army, Ivan Graanoogst was appointed Acting President. On 27 December 1990, Johannes Kraag became the president. Since 1991, the president is elected democratically.


The president and a vice president are elected by no less than a two-thirds supermajority of members in the National Assembly to a five-year mandate and are accountable to the Assembly. During their time in office, the president must forfeit any additional posts in politics or business.


A candidate must be a Surinamese national (resident in the country for at least six years) who is at least 30 years of age. A candidate must win at least two-thirds of the votes in the Assembly to be elected. If no candidate wins two-thirds after three rounds, the vote then goes to the United People's Congress, composed of the Assembly and local government officials. In this case, a simple majority is required.

Powers and duties

The president is vested with extensive functional powers. The president names and dismisses ministers, signs bills, and names and dismisses diplomatic staff. He declares war and states of emergency with the ratification of the National Assembly. He concludes foreign treaties and agreements, again with the assent of the Assembly. He also exercises ceremonial duties such as conferring awards, receiving foreign diplomats, and granting pardons.

List of presidents


Political parties
PresidentTerm of officePolitical partyVice President
Took officeLeft officeTime in office
1 Johan Ferrier 928-2995 (cropped).jpg Johan Ferrier
25 November 197513 August 1980
[lower-alpha 1]
4 years, 262 days NPS Position not established
2 Henk Chin a Sen 934-1376 (cropped).jpg Henk Chin A Sen
15 August 19804 February 1982
[lower-alpha 2]
1 year, 173 days PNR
3 L.F.Ramdat Misier (cropped).jpg Fred Ramdat Misier
8 February 198225 January 19885 years, 351 days Independent
4 No image.png Ramsewak Shankar
(born 1937)
25 January 198824 December 1990
[lower-alpha 3]
2 years, 333 days VHP Henck Arron
5 Minister van Sociale Zaken van Suriname dhr Kraag voor besprekingen in Holland , Bestanddeelnr 915-4476 (cropped).jpg Johan Kraag
29 December 199016 September 1991261 days NPS Jules Wijdenbosch
6 Ronald Venetiaan.jpg Ronald Venetiaan
(born 1936)
16 September 199115 September 19964 years, 365 days NPS Jules Ajodhia
7 JulesWijdenbosch2017.jpg Jules Wijdenbosch
(born 1942)
15 September 199612 August 20003 years, 332 days NDP Pretaap Radhakishun
(6) Ronald Venetiaan.jpg Ronald Venetiaan
(born 1936)
12 August 200012 August 201010 years NPS Jules Ajodhia
Ramdien Sardjoe
8 President Bouterse.JPG Dési Bouterse
(born 1945)
12 August 201016 July 20209 years, 339 days NDP Robert Ameerali
Ashwin Adhin
9 Chan Santokhi, Sep 2020 (cropped).jpg Chan Santokhi
(born 1959)
16 July 2020Incumbent1 year, 92 days
(as of 16 October 2021)
VHP Ronnie Brunswijk


Chan SantokhiDési BouterseJules WijdenboschRonald VenetiaanJohan KraagRamsewak ShankarFred Ramdat MisierHenk Chin A SenJohan FerrierPresident of Suriname


  1. Resigned after the Sergeants' Coup.
  2. Dismissed by Bouterse. [7] [8]
  3. Deposed in the Telephone Coup. [9]

See also

Related Research Articles

The early history of Suriname dates from 3000 BCE when Native Americans first inhabited the area. The Dutch acquired Suriname from the English, and European settlement in any numbers dates from the 17th century, when it was a plantation colony utilizing slavery for sugar cultivation. With abolition in the late 19th century, planters sought labor from China, Madeira, India, and Indonesia, which was also colonized by the Dutch. Dutch is Suriname's official language. Owing to its diverse population, it has also developed a creole language, Sranan.

Dési Bouterse Leader of Suriname (1980–1987, 2010–2020)

Desiré Delano "Dési" Bouterse is a Surinamese politician who served as President of Suriname from 2010 to 2020. From 1980 to 1987, he was Suriname's de facto leader after conducting a military coup and establishing a period of military rule. In 1987, Bouterse founded the National Democratic Party (NDP). On 25 May 2010, Bouterse's political alliance, the Megacombinatie, which included the NDP, won the parliamentary elections, and on 19 July 2010, Bouterse was elected as President of Suriname with 36 of 50 parliament votes. He was inaugurated on 12 August 2010.

Henck Arron

Henck Alphonsus Eugène Arron was the first Prime Minister of Suriname after it gained independence in 1975. A member of the National Party of Suriname, he served from 24 December 1973 with the transition government, to 25 February 1980. He was overthrown in a coup d'état by the military, led by Dési Bouterse. Released in 1981 after charges of corruption were dropped, he returned to banking, his previous career. In 1987, Arron was elected as Vice President of Suriname and served until another coup in 1990 overthrew the government.

National Assembly (Suriname)

The National Assembly is the Parliament, representing the legislative branch of government in Suriname. It is a unicameral legislature. The assembly is situated in the former park house at the Independence Square in Paramaribo, after a fire completely destroyed the old building of representation on 1 August 1996.

Ramsewak Shankar is a Surinamese politician who was the 4th President of Suriname, serving from 1988 to 1990. His government was overthrown by Dési Bouterse leading a bloodless military coup. Shankar had previously served as Agriculture & Fisheries Minister from 1969 to 1971.

Vice President of Suriname Deputy head of state and deputy head of government of Suriname

The vice president of Suriname is the second-highest political position in Suriname, after the president. The president and the vice president are elected by the National Assembly for five-year terms.

Jules Sedney Surinamese politician

Jules Sedney was a Surinamese politician, and Prime Minister of Suriname from 20 November 1969 to 24 December 1973. In 1980, he became governor of the Central Bank of Suriname, but had to flee the country in 1983 after a dispute with Dési Bouterse. Sedney returned to Suriname in 1989.

1980 Surinamese coup détat Violent overthrow of government in Suriname

The 1980 Surinamese coup d'état, usually referred to as the Sergeants' Coup, was a military coup in Suriname which occurred on 25 February 1980, when a group of 16 sergeants of the Surinamese Armed Forces (SKM) led by Dési Bouterse overthrew the government of Prime Minister Henck Arron with a violent coup d'état. This marked the beginning of the military dictatorship that dominated the country from 1980 until 1991. The dictatorship featured the presence of an evening curfew, the lack of freedom of press, a ban on political parties, a restriction on the freedom of assembly, a high level of government corruption and the summary executions of political opponents.

Ronnie Brunswijk Surinamese politician and former rebel (born 1961)

Ronnie Brunswijk is a Surinamese politician, businessman, footballer, former rebel leader, and the current Vice President of Suriname. Brunswijk served in the early 1980s as the personal bodyguard of Dési Bouterse, who overthrew the government in 1980 in a military coup. Brunswijk was discharged after asking for a raise, and denied back pay. In 1985, Brunswijk formed the Surinamese Liberation Army, better known as the Jungle Commando.

Honorary Order of the Yellow Star

The Honorary Order of the Yellow Star is the highest state decoration of the Republic of Suriname. The Order was instituted in 1975 at the independence of Suriname and replaced the Dutch Order of the Netherlands Lion. It is awarded to individuals for their meritorious service to the Surinamese people or nation. Foreigners are also eligible to receive the order. The president of Suriname is the Grand Master of the order.

Johan Kraag

Johannes Samuel Petrus "Johan" Kraag was a Surinamese politician who served as the President of Suriname from 29 December 1990, until 16 September 1991.

Chan Santokhi President of Suriname since 2020

Chandrikapersad "Chan" Santokhi is a Surinamese politician and former police officer who is the 9th and current President of Suriname. After winning the 2020 elections, Santokhi was the sole nomination for President of Suriname. On 13 July, Santokhi was elected president by acclamation in an uncontested election. He was inaugurated on 16 July.

Ashwin Adhin

Michael Ashwin Satyandre Adhin is a Surinamese educator, politician, and was the Vice President of Suriname between 2015 and 2020. He is a member of the National Democratic Party. At the age of 35, he became the youngest vice president in the history of Suriname to lead the Council of Ministers. Adhin is a Hindu of Indian descent.

1990 Surinamese coup détat Violent overthrow of government in Suriname

The 1990 Surinamese coup d'état, usually referred to as the Telephone Coup, was a military coup in Suriname on 24 December 1990. The coup was carried out by the acting commander-in-chief of the Suriname National Army (SNL), Police Chief Ivan Graanoogst. As a result of the coup, President Ramsewak Shankar was dismissed from power, and parliament and government were disbanded.

2020 Surinamese general election

Parliamentary elections were held in Suriname on 25 May 2020. The elections occurred concurrently with an economic crisis in Suriname, as well as the COVID-19 crisis.

COVID-19 pandemic in Suriname Ongoing COVID-19 viral pandemic in Suriname

The COVID-19 pandemic in Suriname was caused by Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. The virus was confirmed to have reached Suriname on 13 March 2020. The case was a person who travelled from the Netherlands the previous week. On 3 April 2020, one person died. On 3 May 2020, all nine cases had recovered. On 18 May, an eleventh case was identified.

Constitutional Court of Suriname

The Constitutional Court is the constitutional court for the Republic of Suriname. Its establishment was already foreseen in both the constitution of Suriname of 1975 and the current constitution of 1987, but it took until 4 October 2019 for the National Assembly to enact a law providing for the establishment of a constitutional court. After some errors concerning the official proclamation of the establishment of the court were corrected, the members of the court were installed on 7 May 2020.

Dew Sharman

Dewanchandrebhose Sharman is a Surinamese doctor and politician. He is a member of the National Assembly for the Progressive Reform Party (VHP). In 2015, he was first elected to the National Assembly by preferential votes. In 2020, Sharman was elected Vice Chairman of the National Assembly in an uncontested election.

Commander of the Armed Forces (Suriname) Head of the armed forces of Suriname

The Commander of the Armed Forces is the professional head of the National Army, the military of the Republic of Suriname. The position dates back to the country's independence from the Netherlands in 1975, with the military being named the Surinamese Armed Forces until after the Sergeants' Coup in 1980.


  1. "Starnieuws - Salaris alle ministers is ruim SRD 15.000 netto".
  2. BFMTV. "Qui sont les chefs d'État les mieux rémunérés au monde?". BFMTV.
  3. "Live blog: Verkiezing president en vicepresident Suriname". De Ware Tijd (in Dutch). Retrieved 13 July 2020.
  4. "Inauguratie nieuwe president van Suriname op Onafhankelijkheidsplein". Waterkant (in Dutch). Retrieved 13 July 2020.
  5. "Live blog: Inauguratie president en vicepresident". De Ware Tijd (in Dutch). Retrieved 16 July 2020.
  6. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 21 May 2018. Retrieved 20 May 2018.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. "AROUND THE WORLD; Military in Suriname Takes Over Government". The New York Times. 6 February 1982. Retrieved 15 December 2020.
  8. "Chin A Sen onder druk afgetreden". Reformatorisch Dagblad via Digibron (in Dutch). 5 February 1982. Retrieved 23 June 2020.
  9. Howard W. French (27 December 1990). "Suriname Coup Leaders Had Power Already". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 December 2020.