H.E. Desiré Delano "Dési" Bouterse
President of Suriname
Desiré Delano "Dési" Bouterse (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈbɑutərsə]) (born 13 October 1945) is a Surinamese politician who has been President of Suriname since 2010. From 1980 to 1987 he was Suriname's de facto leader when the country was under military rule.
Early life and education
Desi Bouterse was born in Domburg, Suriname, in 1945. He attended the Middelbare Handelsschool and acquired the MULO diploma (roughly equivalent to junior secondary general education). He received his military education in the Netherlands.
Bouterse first seized control of Suriname in a coup in 1980, five years after it gained independence from the Netherlands. He stepped down under international pressure in 1987, then briefly seized power again in 1990.
In 1999 a Dutch court convicted him in absentia of trafficking cocaine to the Netherlands, but he has avoided an 11-year prison term because the two countries do not have an extradition treaty.
Note: Suriname's president is not chosen directly by voters, but by legislators. A two-thirds majority in the 51-seat parliament is required to elect the president of Suriname, a South American country where the official language is Dutch but most people speak Sranan.