Suriname - Political parties

Suriname's political parties tend to represent particular ethnic groups. The National Party of Suriname (NPS), led by former president Ronald Venetiaan, draws support from the Creole population. The Progressive Reform Party (VHP), led by Jaggernath Lachmon, is East Indian and the Party of National Unity and Solidarity, formerly the Indonesian Peasant's Party (KTPI), led by Willy Soemita, is more tied in name to its constituency. All three parties allied in the coalition National Front for Democracy in 1987 to defeat Bouterse's National Democratic Party (NDP). In 1991, these three parties and the Suriname Labor Party (SPA) formed the New Front (NF) and won a solid victory, gaining 30 of 51 Assembly seats, while Bouterse's NDP took 10 seats. Another coalition formed during the 1991 elections was called Democratic Alternative '91. It included four non-ethnic parties representing a variety of white-collar concerns. They took 9 of the remaining 11 seats in the Assembly, with the other 2 going to minor parties.

After four years as an opposition party, following the 1996 elections, the New Front regained its parliamentary majority in early elections called for May 2000, winning a total of 32 seats (Suriname National Party, 14; Progressive Reform Party, 9; the Javan Pertjajah Luhur party, 7; Suriname Labor Party, 2) to 10 for Desi Bouterse's Millennium Combination and only 3 for President Wijdenbosch's Democratic National Platform 2000.

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