CaribWorldNews, PARAMARIBO, Suriname, Tues. July 20, 2010: A former military dictator has again taken the reins of leadership in the South American nation of Suriname.
Desi Bouterse, 64, was on Monday elected as President of the former Dutch colony after defeating Justice and Police Minister Chandrikapersad Santokhi during a parliamentary vote.
His election comes even though he is now before the court on trial for the December 1982 murders of 15 political opponents of his then-military government. The next court hearing is scheduled for July 23. If found guilty, Bouterse could face up to 20 years in jail.
Bouterse`s Mega Combination party struck a deal with his former military rival Ronnie Brunswijk over the weekend to nominate Robert Ameerali, chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry as his running mate.
His party won 23 of the 51 seats in parliament in the May 25 general elections.
Bouterse seized power in a military coup in 1980 and ruled until November 1987 when he lost the general elections. In December 1990, he again seized power through a so-called `telephone-coup`, but again lost the general elections in May 1991.
The outgoing New Front coalition has nominated Natural Resources Minister Gregory Rusland for the post of vice-president.