SURINAM: Birth Pangs of a Polyglot State

After four days of debate that often lasted until dawn, the parliament of the world's newest, and 156th, sovereign state unanimously approved a constitution. The staid, protocol-conscious assembly in Surinam's capital of Paramaribo erupted in cheers. Outside, a crowd waiting for the vote roared its approval and set off celebratory firecrackers. As the parliamentarians stood to sing the national anthem, a Creole woman placed garlands of ribbons around the neck of Prime Minister Henck Arron and Opposition Leader Jaggernath Lachmon, head of the Hindustani Vatan Hitkarie (Progressive Reform) party. Close to tears,...

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