Breaking News: Bouterse elected Suriname president by parliament
PARAMARIBO, (Reuters) – Former coup leader and military strongman Desi Bouterse was elected president of Suriname by the South American country’s parliament today, lawmakers said.
The parliament made the selection by 36 votes out of 50 after Bouterse, 64, who faces accusations of drug-trafficking and human rights violations, had failed to gain a sufficient winning majority in May elections.
Bouterse, who will replace outgoing president Ronald Venetiaan, defeated Chandrikapersad Santokhi, the current justice minister, who obtained 13 votes.
The former army leader, who took part in two past coups in Suriname in 1980 and 1990, still faces trial in his country for the execution of 15 opponents in 1982 during his military rule.
He was also convicted in the Netherlands in 1999 of drug-trafficking.
Before today’s vote, two local human rights organizations had asked the National Assembly to reject the candidacy of Bouterse.