The first President of the country was Johan Ferrier, the former governor, with Henck Arron (the then leader of the NPS) as Prime Minister.
In the years leading up to independence, nearly one-third of the population of Suriname emigrated to the Netherlands, amidst concern that the new country would fare worse under independence than it had as a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Surinamese politics did degenerate into ethnic polarization and corruption soon after independence, with the NPS using Dutch aid money for partisan purposes. Its leaders were accused of fraud in the 1977 elections, in which Arron won a further term, and the discontent was such that a large portion of the population fled to the Netherlands, joining the already significant Surinamese community there.
Hawker escaped from prison during the fourth counter-coup attempt, but he was captured and summarily executed. Between 2 am and 5 am on 7 December 1982, the military, under the leadership of Dési Bouterse, rounded up 13 prominent citizens who had criticized the military dictatorship and held them at Fort Zeelandia in Paramaribo. The dictatorship had all these men executed over the next three days, along with Rambocus and Jiwansingh Sheombar (who was also involved in the fourth counter-coup attempt).
National elections were held in 1987. The National Assembly adopted a new constitution that allowed Bouterse to remain in charge of the army. Dissatisfied with the government, Bouterse summarily dismissed the ministers in 1990, by telephone. This event became popularly known as the “Telephone Coup”. His power began to wane after the 1991 elections.
In 1999, the Netherlands tried Bouterse in absentia on drug smuggling charges. He was convicted and sentenced to prison but remained in Suriname. The 1999 Surinamese protests occurred in 1999.
On 19 July 2010, the former dictator Dési Bouterse returned to power when he was elected as the president of Suriname. Before his election in 2010, he, along with 24 others, had been charged with the murders of 15 prominent dissidents in the December murders. However, in 2012, two months before the verdict in the trial, the National Assembly extended its amnesty law and provided Bouterse and the others with amnesty of these charges. He was reelected on 14 July 2015. However, Bouterse was convicted by a Surinamese court on 29 November 2019 and given a 20-year sentence for his role in the 1982 killings.