The parliament of Suriname has elected a convicted drug trafficker facing trial for the deaths of 15 people as president of the South American nation.

Parliament elected former dictator Desi Bouterse Monday after he secured 36 votes from the 51-member lawmaking body.  He still faces trial in his country for his alleged role in executing 15 political opponents in 1982 when he ruled the country.  Bouterse seized power in 1980 and ruled until 1987.  He briefly seized power again 1990.

A Dutch court convicted him in absentia of trafficking cocaine to the Netherlands in 1999.

Suriname is a former Dutch colony on the northeastern coast of South America.