Parliamentary General Elections were held in Suriname on 25 May 2000 for all 51 seats in the National Assembly.
The 51 members in the unicameral National Assembly are elected from 10 constituencies on the basis of a party-list proportional representation system that involves preferential voting. The 10 electoral constituencies are coterminous with the ten administrative districts of Suriname. The National Assembly subsequently elects the President.
President Jules Wijdenbosch called the 25 May 2000 elections a year earlier to quell street demonstrations demanding his resignation after the economy collapsed (his government had failed to curb 70 per cent annual inflation) and after widespread resignations from his Cabinet had left him with a minority in the National Assembly. A total of 265,000 Surinamese were eligible to cast their ballots for the 602 candidates of 17 parties and coalitions.
Political Parties & Candidates
Former President Ronald Venetiaans's opposition four-party coalition, the new Front for Democracy (NF) succeeded in attracting members of different ethnic groups by putting forward a programme calling for a rapprochement with the Netherlands, the former colonial power. Many voters associated the country's economic recession (characterised by high levels of poverty, a considerable drop in the value of the local currency and high inflation) with President Wijdenbosh's coalition.
The NF won three times as many seats (32) as its closest rival, the Millennium Combination, an alliance of the National Democratic Party (NDP) - headed by Mr. Désiré Bouterse, who had ruled Suriname between 1980 and 1987 - and two smaller parties, which won 10 seats. The Democratic National Platform 2000, headed by outgoing President Wijdenbosch, came in third with 3 seats. The remaining six seats went to smaller parties.
The President and Vice-President are elected by a two-thirds majority, or 34 seats, in the National Assembly. On 12 August 2000, Mr. Ronald Venetiaan was sworn in as the new President of the country.
Voter turnout was 72.03%.