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Suriname: Economy and Government

Agriculture accounts for about 15% of the country's gross domestic product. Rice is the principal crop, and bananas, palm kernels, coconuts, plantains, and peanuts are also cultivated. The mining industry long dominated the economy, with bauxite as the principal mineral, but bauxite mining and alumina production ended in 2015. Gold remains an important mineral, and crude oil is also extracted. Other industries include lumbering, food processing, and fishing. The main exports are gold, crude oil, lumber, shrimp and fish, rice, and bananas. Capital equipment, petroleum, foodstuffs, cotton, and consumer goods are imported. Fluctuations in world mineral and oil prices have a strong impact on the country's economy. The United States, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, and the Netherlands are the largest trading partners.

Suriname is governed under the constitution of 1987. Executive power is held by the president, who is both head of state and head of government. The president, who serves a five-year term, is elected by a two-thirds vote of the national legislature, or (after two failed votes) by a majority vote of the United People's Assembly, which includes national, regional, and local representatives. The members of the legislature, the 51-seat National Assembly, are elected by popular vote and also serve five-year terms. Administratively, the country is divided into ten districts.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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