National Assembly (Suriname)
De Nationale Assemblée
|6th Surinamese National Assembly|
since 30, June, 2010
|25, May, 2010|
The National Assembly (De Nationale Assemblée, The Assembly, commonly abbreviated "DNA") is the Parliament, representing the legislative branch of government in Suriname. It is a unicameral legislature. The assembly is situated at the Independence Square in Paramaribo, after a fire completely destroyed the old building of representation on August 1, 1996.
The 51 members of parliament are elected every five years by proportional representation on the basis of the country's component districts. The most recent elections were held on May 25, 2010. On May 30, Jennifer Simons was appointed as Chair of the assembly. Ruth Wijdenbosch was the first woman to be appointed as Vice Chair.
The first representation was formed by the Colonial States, from 1866. The name was changed to States of Suriname in 1936. When Suriname became an independent republic on November 25, 1975, the representation was named Parliament of the Republic of Suriname. This Parliament was made inoperative during the coup d'état of 1980. In 1985, the Parliament was replaced by an appointed Assembly. The National Assembly, in its current form, dates from 1987. In that year, democracy was reestablished after the coup and a new constitution was adopted, organizing the Assembly, so new elections could be held on November 25, 1987. From here on, elections were held in 1991, 1996, 2000, 2005 and 2010.
Chairmen since 1975
From December 1973, Emile Wijntuin was the Chairman of the States of Suriname, and remained Chairman of Parliament after Independence, until it was dissolved in August 1980.
After the elections in 1987, Jagernath Lachmon (VHP) became Chairman, an office which he already had taken twice in the States of Suriname. Lachmon resigned in 1996, because he could not agree with the Wijdenbosch government.
On October 10, 1996, Marijke Djwalapersad (BVD) was elected as Chair, becoming the first woman in Suriname's history to assume this office. On July 24, 2000, Djwalapersad was succeeded by Jagernath Lachmon, who remained in office until his death in 2001. His fellow party man Ramdien Sardjoe took his place.
After the elections of 2005, Paul Somohardjo of Pertjajah Luhur (a party that was part of the New Front combination) wanted to become Vice President of Suriname. This did not seem feasible, since he was convicted in August 2003 for defamation, which resulted in a suspended two-month sentence and his removal as minister. Within the coalition was decided to make Ramdien Sardjoe vice president and Somohardjo Chairman of the National Assembly.
On June 30, 2010, Jennifer Simons of NDP/MC surprisingly won the elections from Somohardjo, with 26 votes against 24 votes, and became the incumbent Chair of the Assembly. Ruth Wijdenbosch was elected as Vice Chair with 25 votes, one more than her rival, Anton Paal (PALU/MC). Remarkable is the fact that this is the first time that these offices are held by opposing politicians. It is also the first time that both these offices are held by women.
In the elections of May 25, 2010, the 51 Parliamentary seats were allocated as follows:
|Parties and alliance||Votes||%||Seats|
|New Front for Democracy and Development||75,190||31.65||14|
|Party for Democracy and Development through Unity||12,085||5.09||1|
|Democratic Union Suriname||284||0.12||—|
|Permanent Prosperity Republic of Suriname||261||0.11||—|
|Total (turnout 73.21%)||237,575||100.00||51|
- Official website (Dutch)