President Desi Bouterse has launched his re-election bid telling supporters he is confident that his National Democratic Party (NDP) would be victorious in the 2015 general election.
“When the ballots are counted (after the 2015 elections), the question will not be whether we have won, but by how much. We are that strong that we would win even if the opposition organized the elections,” said Bouterse as he addressed supporters at the party’s rally in Nieuw Nickerie, the capital of the border district Nickerie.
He said that his administration had made significant improvements in the lives of Surinamese and urged them to unite to ensure victory whenever the polls are called.
“We built so many bridges and paved so many roads in the hinterland. People who after 70 years of promises finally have drinking water in their homes, cannot stop thanking us when we see them,” Bouterse said, adding that the NDP has shown it is possible to bring development to Suriname.
Bouterse said that before May 2015, his administration would increase the old age pensions as well as improve benefits for children.
He said Finance Minister Andy Rusland would see whether it would be possible to implement the new increases by January next year insisting “this is not populist election talk”.
Bouterse, a former army sergeant who first took power in Suriname during a February 25 1980 coup d’etat, became President in 2010, surprising many opponents, including the Netherlands where he is wanted for a 1999 drug sentence.
Bouterse announced last year that he would run for a second term, saying that while he had first intended to be in office for one term, his party wanted him to run again and his family members had given their blessing.
The NDP is part of a two-member Mega-Combination coalition that includes the coalition A-Combination coalition led by Ronnie Brunswijk.
It holds a slender one-seat majority in the 51-seat National assembly after booting out the leader of the Pertjajah Luhur (PL) party, Paul Somohardjo, accusing him of playing “blackmail politics”.