SAN JUAN – This week’s general elections in Suriname were “transparent, free and fair,” an eight-member monitoring mission from the Caribbean Community said Friday.
“The results of the day’s activity on polling day gleaned by the CEOM (CARICOM Electoral Mission) proved that the process was transparent, free and fair. Electors cast their vote without fear, intimidation or harassment and the results would have represented the will of the people,” the observers said in a statement.
The mission split up into four two-person teams to observe the voting process in four of Suriname’s 10 districts: Paramaribo, Para, Commewijne and Wanica.
Authorities established 623 polling stations to accommodate the 356,223 registered voters, CARICOM said.
The Organization of American States observation mission earlier congratulated Surinamese citizens for their “exemplary civic spirit” and “active” participation in Monday’s general elections.
“The OAS team reported that the polling stations observed opened on time, were adequately staffed and fully equipped with all the materials required for the election,” the observers said in a statement.
Monday’s vote took place in an “orderly, peaceful and even festive manner,” according to the 24-member team, which visited 61 percent of polling stations across all of Suriname’s 10 districts.
With more than 80 percent of the ballots counted, the National Democratic Party of former President Desi Bouterse is set to remain in power, electoral authorities said Tuesday.
The NDP won 26 of the 51 seats in parliament, well ahead of V7, a six-party coalition that secured 17 seats, there’s no official word yet on when the final results will be disclosed.
While the NDP has secured a second term in office, Bouterse needs the votes of at least 34 legislators to return to the presidency.
Bouterse, who led a group of 16 army sergeants in a violent coup in February 1980, effectively ruled Suriname until the late ‘80s.
He became the country’s constitutional president in 2010, despite a controversial past that includes a 1999 drug-trafficking conviction in the Netherlands and a 1982 massacre of 15 opponents for which he has acknowledged “political” responsibility.