Geographic and Governmental Profile of Suriname

Background
First explored by the Spaniards in the 16th century and then settled by the English in the mid-17th century, Suriname became a Dutch colony in 1667. With the abolition of slavery in 1863, workers were brought in from India and Java. Independence from the Netherlands was granted in 1975. Five years later the civilian government was replaced by a military regime that soon declared a socialist republic. It continued to exert control through a succession of nominally civilian administrations until 1987, when international pressure finally forced a democratic election. In 1990, the military overthrew the civilian leadership, but a democratically elected government - a four-party coalition - returned to power in 1991. The coalition expanded to eight parties in 2005 and ruled until August 2010, when voters returned former military leader Desire BOUTERSE and his opposition coalition to power.
Location
Northern South America, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between French Guiana and Guyana
Geographic coordinates
4 00 N, 56 00 W
Continent / Subcontinent
South America
Area
total:
163,820 sq km
rank:
92
land:
156,000 sq km
water:
7,820 sq km
Area - comparative
slightly larger than Georgia
Land boundaries
total:
1,703 km
border countries:
Brazil 593 km, French Guiana 510 km, Guyana 600 km
Coastline
386 km
Maritime claims
territorial sea:
12 nm
exclusive economic zone:
200 nm
Climate
tropical; moderated by trade winds
Terrain
mostly rolling hills; narrow coastal plain with swamps
Elevation extremes
lowest point:
unnamed location in the coastal plain -2 m
highest point:
Juliana Top 1,230 m
Natural resources
timber, hydropower, fish, kaolin, shrimp, bauxite, gold, and small amounts of nickel, copper, platinum, iron ore
Land use
arable land:
0.36%
permanent crops:
0.06%
other:
99.58% (2005)
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Irrigated land
510 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
122 cu km (2003)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
total:
0.67 cu km/yr (4%/3%/93%)
per capita:
1,489 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards
NA
Environment - current issues
deforestation as timber is cut for export; pollution of inland waterways by small-scale mining activities
Environment - international agreements
party to:
Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified:
none of the selected agreements
Geography - note
smallest independent country on South American continent; mostly tropical rain forest; great diversity of flora and fauna that, for the most part, is increasingly threatened by new development; relatively small population, mostly along the coast
Country name
conventional long form:
Republic of Suriname
conventional short form:
Suriname
local long form:
Republiek Suriname
local short form:
Suriname
former:
Netherlands Guiana, Dutch Guiana
Government type
constitutional democracy
Capital
name:
Paramaribo
geographic coordinates:
5 50 N, 55 10 W
time difference:
UTC-3 (2 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions
10 districts (distrikten, singular - distrikt); Brokopondo, Commewijne, Coronie, Marowijne, Nickerie, Para, Paramaribo, Saramacca, Sipaliwini, Wanica
Independence
25 November 1975 (from the Netherlands)
Constitution
ratified 30 September 1987; effective 30 October 1987
Legal system
civil law system influenced by Dutch civil law; note - the Commissie Nieuw Surinaamse Burgerlijk Wetboek completed drafting a new civil code in February 2009
International law organization participation
accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
Suffrage
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch
chief of state:
President Desire Delano BOUTERSE (since 12 August 2010); Vice President Robert AMEERALI (since 12 August 2010); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government:
President Desire Delano BOUTERSE (since 12 August 2010); Vice President Robert AMEERALI (since 12 August 2010)
cabinet:
Cabinet of Ministers appointed by the president
elections:
president and vice president elected by the National Assembly or, if no presidential or vice presidential candidate receives a two-thirds constitutional majority in the National Assembly after two votes, by a simple majority in the larger United People's Assembly (893 representatives from the national, local, and regional councils), for five-year terms (no term limits); election last held on 19 July 2010 (next to be held in 2015)
election results:
Desire Delano BOUTERSE elected president; percent of vote - Desire Delano BOUTERSE 70.6%, Chandrikapersad SATOKHI 25.5%, other 3.9%
Legislative branch
unicameral National Assembly or Nationale Assemblee (51 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections:
last held on 25 May 2010 (next to be held in May 2015)
election results:
percent of vote by party - Mega Combination 45.1%, New Front 27.5%, A-Com 13.7%, People's Alliance 11.8%, DOE 1.9%; seats by party - Mega Combination 23, New Front 14, A-Com 7, People's Alliance 6, DOE 1
Judicial branch
Cantonal Courts and a Court of Justice as an appellate court (justices are nominated for life); member of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ)
Political parties and leaders
A-Combination (a coalition that includes the General Liberation and Development Party ABOP [Ronnie BRUNSWIJK], and SEEKA [Paul ABENA]); Basic Party for Renewal and Democracy or BVD [Dilip SARDJOE]; Basic Party for Renewal and Democracy or PVF [Soedeschand JAIRAM]; Democratic Union Suriname or DUS [Japhet DIEKO]; Mega Combination Coalition (a coalition that joined with A-Combination and the PL to form a majority in Parliament in 2010 - includes the National Democratic Party or NDP [Desire BOUTERSE] (largest party in the coalition), Progressive Worker and Farmer's Union or PALU [Jim HOK], Party for National Unity and Solidarity of the Highest Order or KTPI [Willy SOEMITA], DNP-2000 [Jules WIJDENBOSCH], Union of Brotherhood and Unity in Politics BEP [Caprino ALENDY], and New Suriname or NS [Nanan PANDAY]); National Union or NU [P. VAN LEEUWAARDE]; New Front for Democracy and Development or NF (a coalition made up of the National Party of Suriname or NPS [Runaldo VENETIAAN], United Reform Party or VHP [Ramdien SARDJOE], Democratic Alternative 1991 or DA-91 - an independent, business-oriented party [Winston JESSURUN], Surinamese Labor Party or SPA [Siegfried GILDS]); Party for Democracy and Development in Unity or DOE [Carl BREEVELD]; Party for the Permanent Prosperity Republic Suriname or PVRS [NA]; People's Alliance, Pertjaja Luhur's or PL [Paul SOMOHARDJO](includes D-21 [Soewarta MOESTADJA] and Pendawa Lima [Raymond SAPEON], which merged with PL in 2010)
BVD and PVF participated in the elections as a coalition (BVD/PVF) in the most recent elections, but separated after the election
Political pressure groups and leaders
Association of Indigenous Village Chiefs [Ricardo PANE]; Association of Saramaccan Authorities or Maroon [Head Captain WASE]; Women's Parliament Forum or PVF [Iris GILLIAD]
International organization participation
ACP, AOSIS, Caricom, CELAC, FAO, G-77, IADB, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDB, IFAD, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITU, ITUC, LAES, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OIC, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, Petrocaribe, UN, UNASUR, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Subhas-Chandra MUNGRA
chancery:
Suite 460, 4301 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone:
[1] (202) 244-7488
FAX:
[1] (202) 244-5878
consulate(s) general:
Miami
Diplomatic representation from the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador John R. NAY
embassy:
Dr. Sophie Redmondstraat 129, Paramaribo
mailing address:
US Department of State, PO Box 1821, Paramaribo
telephone:
[597] 472-900
FAX:
[597] 410-025
Flag description
five horizontal bands of green (top, double width), white, red (quadruple width), white, and green (double width); a large, yellow, five-pointed star is centered in the red band; red stands for progress and love; green symbolizes hope and fertility; white signifies peace, justice, and freedom; the star represents the unity of all ethnic groups; from its yellow light the nation draws strength to bear sacrifices patiently while working toward a golden future
National anthem
name:
"God zij met ons Suriname!" (God Be With Our Suriname)
lyrics/music:
Cornelis Atses HOEKSTRA and Henry DE ZIEL/Johannes Corstianus DE PUY
adopted 1959; the anthem, originally adapted from a Sunday school song written in 1893, contains lyrics in both Dutch and Sranang Tongo
Data source 1: All Above textual data, maps and flags were extracted from The World Factbook which was prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency and made available on the following link: The World Factbook. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsered or affiliated, in any way, by the US Central Intelligence Agency
Data source 2: Plots and Charts are constructed using the world bank public data catalog which can be viewed by visiting the following link: World Bank Data Catalog. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsored or affiliated, in any way, by the worldbank

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