Ramsewak Shankar

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Ramsewak Shankar
रामसेवक शंकर
4th President of Suriname
In office
January 25, 1988 – December 24, 1990
Vice PresidentHenck Arron
Preceded byL.F. Ramdat Misier
Succeeded byIvan Graanoogst
Personal details
Born (1937-11-06) November 6, 1937 (age 81)
Political partyProgressive Reform Party (Suriname)

Ramsewak Shankar (born November 6, 1937) is a Surinamese politician who was the 4th President of Suriname, serving from 1988 to 1990.[1] His government was overthrown by Dési Bouterse leading a bloodless military coup. Shankar had previously served as Agriculture & Fisheries Minister from 1969 to 1971.

Shankar was a member of the large ethnic South Asian community in Suriname. He had studied at Wageningen University in the Netherlands.[2] After his return to Suriname, he became active in the Progressive Reform Party. He supported independence in 1975.


Shankar was elected as President by the National Assembly after a parliamentary election was held in November 1987. The ruling military regime had led the National Assembly to adopt a new constitution, which permitted coup leader Dési Bouterse to remain as head of the army. Ramsewak Shankar was a former agriculture minister and succeeded Ramdat Misier as the President of Suriname.

In 1989 Shankar agreed to pardon the Maroons, or bush negroes, who had been waging civil war for years against the military in an effort to preserve their autonomy within their traditional territory in the rain forest. He discussed the possibility of their members keeping their arms for use when living within the rain forest. Dési Bouterse and the National Democratic Party opposed the agreement, calling it a violation of the constitution. They said Shankar's proposal would lead to legalizing an independent military force.

In 1990, Shankar and his government were ousted in a bloodless military coup (known as the "Telephone coup") led by Bouterse. A military-backed government was installed, with Ivan Graanoogst and later Johan Kraag as the new president.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.gov.sr/kabinet-van-de-president/over-het-kabinet/historie.aspx
  2. ^ "Wageningen University: Facts & Figures | Radio Netherlands Worldwide". M.rnw.nl. 2011-11-25. Archived from the original on 2013-12-24. Retrieved 2012-07-06. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
Political offices
Preceded by
Fred Ramdat Misier
President of Suriname
Succeeded by
Ivan Graanoogst