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This Caribbean Nation Bucks Recent Election Trends

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A voter at a Suriname poll on Mon. May 25, 2015. (OAS image)

News Americas, Paramaribo, Suriname, Weds. May 27, 2015: Suriname’s ex-dictator and convicted drug trafficker, President Desi Bouterse, seems set to defy recent Caribbean electoral trends to lead his party to a second-term win Monday.

While voters in Montserrat, Antigua & Barbuda, St. Kitts & Nevis, Anguilla and Guyana have given their incumbent governments the boot in recent months, Bouterse’s National Democratic Party (NDP) have secured enough votes to win 27 seats in the 51-member National Assembly and serve another term according to partial results to date.

So far, the NDP appears on track for the biggest win by a single party in Suriname’s history, enabling it to govern alone for the first time in a country used to coalition rule.

The results to date will allow Bouterse, 69, to possibly end his alliance with former guerrilla leader Ronnie Brunswijk. Bouterse  has been President of Suriname since 2010. From 1980 to 1987 he was Suriname’s de facto leader when the country was under military rule.

The win comes as Bouterse’s son Dino Bouterse, former head of the Suriname Anti-Terrorist Unit, is serving a 16-year sentence in the United States after being convicted in Manhattan, New York, on charges of drug smuggling and trying to help Hezbollah set up a base in Suriname and Latin America.

Full official results from Monday’s election, however, will be ratified in about two weeks.

The Electoral Observation Mission of the Organization of American States (OAS/EOM) on Tuesday congratulated the citizens of Suriname for their exemplary civic participation but recommended Suriname lawmakers discuss and incorporate regulations regarding political-campaign financing and consider introducing some sort of public funding scheme for political parties.