Republic of Suriname is a democratic state based on the sovereignty
of the people and on respect for and the guarantee of fundamental
rights and liberties. The economic objectives of the Republic are
aiming at the establishment of a national economy, free from foreign
domination and in the interest of the nation. The Republic of Suriname
recognizes and respects the rights of nations to self-determination
and national interdependence on the basis of equality, sovereignty
and mutual benefit and therefore promotes the development of the international
legal order and supports the peaceful settlement of disputes. The
most important human rights are enshrined in the Constitution or in
other relevant laws. Suriname recognizes the rights mentioned in the
Bill of Human Rights and other important Human Rights conventions
of the United Nations and the Organization of American States
All political power is vested in
the people and exercised in accordance with the Constitution. The
political democracy is characterized by the participation and representation
of the Surinamese people, which expresses itself through the participation
of the people in establishing a democratic political system, as
well in their participation in legislation and administration aimed
at the maintenance and expansion of the system.
The State recognizes the right of
citizens to establish political organizations and to participate
in political activities. Political organizations however are obliged
to respect the national sovereignty and democracy.
THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
The national Assembly is the highest
institution of the State and represents the People of the Republic.
This body consists of 51 members, elected per district on the basis
of general and free elections by secret ballot. Members of the National
Assembly are elected for a term of five years. The exercise of legislative
power is jointly in hands of the national Assembly and the Government.
The United People's Assembly
The United People's Assembly is made
up of all 869 local, district and nationally elected officials:
712 Local Officials, 106 District Officials and 51 Parliamentarians.
If non of the parties or coalitions represented in the National
Assembly are able to elect a President or Vice President in the
National Assembly, the Constitutions indicates that the United People's
Assembly must be convened in order to choose the President and or
The executive power is vested in
the President of the Republic, who is elected by the National Assembly
for a period of five years by a two-third majority of votes or by
a common majority of votes in the United People's Assembly. The
Vice-President of the Republic, who also chairs the Council of Ministers,
is elected in the same way as the President.
The President of the Republic of
Suriname is the Head of State, Head of the Government, Chairman
of the Council of State and of the Security Council. He is answerable
to the National Assembly. The President has the supreme command
over the armed forces and is in charge of foreign relations and
therefore gives guidance to the overall foreign policy.
Some specific powers of the president:
- constitutes the Council of Ministers;
- directs the preparatory work
for the Government program;
- directs the activities of the
Council of State;
- appoints and remove Ministers
- ratifies approved bills and proposed
- suspends decisions of the Council
of Ministers, and of ministers.
The President has among others the
following powers in international relations:
The Council of State
- to appoint, discharges, replaces,
and suspends diplomatic representatives of the Republic;
- to accredit or refuse accreditation
of diplomatic representatives of other states;
- to accept letters of credence
from foreign diplomatic representatives.
The President is Chairman of the
Council of State. This Council has among others the following tasks:
The National Security Council
- to advice the President in the
execution of the Office of Head of Government;
- to advice the Government on general
policy matters and on the content of bills, as well as agreements
under international law for which the approval of the National
Assembly is required;
- to advice the Government on proposed
- to pass its own standing orders,
which shall be determined by State decree.
When a state of war, or threat of
or state of siege in case of a military
aggression, or the state of civil or military emergency is declared,
the National Security Council must be conveyed. The National Security
Council then consists of:
- the President, as Chairman;
- the Vice-president, as Deputy Chairman;
- the Minister of Defense;
- the Minister of Justice and Police;
- another member of the Council of Ministers (usually the
Minister of Foreign Affairs);
- the commander of the national Army;
- the Chief of the Police Corps.
The Judiciary consists of the President
and the Vice President of the Court of Justice, the members and
deputy members of the Court of Justice, the Procurator General of
the Court of Justice, two Attorneys General and the other members
of the Public Prosecution Department. The administration of justice
is in the hands of the President, the Vice-President, the members
and deputy members of the Court of Justice who collectively constitute
the Judiciary. The cognizance and adjudication of all lawsuits is
exclusively entrusted to the Judiciary, unless the law states otherwise.
The imposition of penalties and measures provided by law are also
entrusted to the Judiciary.
The supreme body of the Judiciary
entrusted with the administration of justice as mentioned above
is called the High Court of Justice of Suriname. This Court supervises
the regular course and settlement of all court proceedings. The
High Court of Justice is also the highest appealed institution.
The Public Prosecutions Office
The Public Prosecutions Office is
responsible for the judicial investigation, and is therefore charged
with the prosecution of all punishable acts. The Public Prosecution
before the Court of Justice is exercised by or on behalf of the
Procurator General. The Procurator General represents the Republic
in Court. This official is the Head of the Public Prosecution Department.
The Procurator General has the power to give the officers who are
entrusted with police tasks instructions for the prevention, detection
and investigation of punishable acts.
The Constitutional Court
The Constitution provides for a Constitutional
Court, however this judicial organ has not yet been installed. This
Court will be an independent body composed of a President, Vice President
and three members. Two of the most important tasks of this very important
body will be to:
- verify the purpose of Acts or
parts thereof against the Constitution, and against applicable
agreements concluded with other states and international organizations;
- assess the consistency of decisions
of government institutions with constitutional rights.