General elections were held in Suriname on 25th May for the national parliament that elects the President. There are 51 members in the parliament.
The election pitted the incumbent ruling alliance of Ret’d General Desi Bouterse against challenger Chandrikapersad Santokhi of VHP. Latest count shows VHP ahead 21-15 seats with a few other parties winning the remaining 15 seats. It takes 26 seats to form the government. The number appears achievable for VHP in alliance with a few smaller ethnic parties. In the 2015 elections, Santokhi party got 15 seats, thereby increasing his gains by six seats.
Santokhi believed in change and campaigned hard. He is a very popular leader in Suriname.
I spent 3 hours with Santokhi ji when I was in Surinam in 2017 and I met him again in January 2018 in Delhi. I found him to be a very good person. He is humorous and good-natured. He is a very simple person with sweet words. He was a likable and respected popular police officer.
Today, the Indian diaspora feels proud of this achievement in winning the most seats and the leading contender for the Presidency. I hope the parliament elects him as President. In Santokhi’s leadership, Suriname and India will achieve improved relationship.
Indian diaspora especially Girmit (Indian indentured) countries are very important for India because Girmit people feels that India is the mother land. The culture, custom, rituals, tradition, food, worship, marriage, songs etc are as it is. Bhojpuri is a popular language in Suriname.
Suriname was a Dutch colony and indentured laborer (girmits) went for the agriculture of sugar cane and spread the sweetness of the Indian culture in Suriname.