Suriname’s former Prime Minister, Wim Udenhout, died at the Paramaribo Academic Hospital on Monday night, his family has confirmed.
He was 85.
Udenhout served as prime minister from February 1984 to July 1986 during the transitional period from the military dictatorship to elected government.
Although on paper he was the head of the government and the Council of Ministers, the actual political power was in the hands of then army commander Desi Bouterse, who came to power in a coup d’?tat on February 25, 1980.
During his term in office, the media were allowed to operate freely, after being banned following the December 8, 1982 murders, in which five media workers were among the 15 people killed.
Media reports said then that the restoration of press freedom was one of the conditions he had sought from Bouterse’s military junta before accepting the post of prime minister.
Udenhout, who held a doctorate in English Literature from Leiden University, had in 1975, emigrated to the Netherlands, but returned to Paramaribo to become a teacher and head of the English section at the Institute for the Training of Teachers.
From 1989 to 1997, Udenhout was Suriname’s ambassador to the United States and permanent representative to the Organization of American States (OAS).
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