Parliamentary General Elections were held in Suriname on 25 May 1991 for all 51 seats in the National Assembly, following the premature dissolution of this body in the wake of the December 1990 coup d’Etat.
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.
On 24 December 1990, President of the Republic R. Shankar was deposed in a military coup d’Etat. The army installed a provisional civilian Government and promised new parliamentary elections within 100 days.
The election date was set on 7 February. Main challengers for the National Assembly’s 51 seats were the New Front for Democracy and Development - a coalition of ethnic-based parties plus the Labour Party; the military-backed National Democratic Party (NDP); and the centre-left Democratic Alternative ’91 - an alliance of four small anti-military parties. Both New Front and Democratic Alternative ’91 opposed future military involvement in politics and favoured a Commonwealth-style union with the Netherlands (the former colonial power). Campaign debate, especially on the part of NDP, furthermore related to social and economic issues (inflation, Dutch foreign aid, etc.).
The polling process was monitored by teams of international observers, who called it largely free and fair.
Final results gave New Front for Democracy and Development (an alliance of the National Party of Suriname, the Progressive Reform Party, the Party for National Unity and Solidarity and the Surinamese Labour Party), 30 of the 51 seats. However, the result was four shy of the two-thirds Assembly majority NF needed to amend the Constitution and choose the Government on its own.
The newly elected legislature participated in selecting the President (Head of Government) and Vice-President of the Republic (Chairman of the Council of Ministers). These were, respectively, Mr. R.R. Venetiaan and Mr. G.-R. Ajodhia. The president was inaugurated on 16 September.
Voter turnout was 64.31%.