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Dominican Republic - Political Parties

Party Leader [2014]
Alliance for Democracy Party APD Maximilano Rabelais Puig Miller
Anti-Imperialist Patriotic Union UPAIgnacio Rodriguez Chiappini
Democratic Quisqueyan Party PQD Elias Wessin Chavez
Democratic Union UD Fernando Alvarez Bogaert
Dominican Communist Party PCD Narciso Isa Conde
Dominican Liberation Party PLD Jose Tomas Perez
Dominican Revolutionary Party PRD Hatuey De Camps
Dominican Worker’s Party PTD Ivan Rodriguez
Liberal Party Dominican Republic PLRD Andres Van Der Horst
National Progressive Force FNP Pelegrin Castillo
National Veterans/Civilian Party PNVC Juan Rene Beauchamps
Popular Christian Party PPC Rogelio Delgado Bogaert
Social Christian Reformist Party PRSC Joaquin Balaguer Ricardo

The country has a functioning multiparty system. Opposition groups of the left, right, and center operate openly. For a country with relatively limited experience with political democracy, the Dominican Republic has a surprisingly strong set of political parties.

Since the 1960s, the country has had two important political parties: the Reformist Party (Partido Reformista—PR) , now the Reformist Social Christian Party (Partido Reformista Social Cristiano — PRSC) , and the Dominican Revolutionary Party (Partido Revolucionario Dominicano—PRD). A third party, the Party of Dominican Liberation (Partido de la Liberacion Dominicana— PLD), was formed in 1973 and gradually became electorally important in the course of the 1980s. In addition to these three parties, numerous other minor parties have occasionally garnered support.

Opposition groups and human rights organizations criticized the violent confrontation and the closing of the Dominican Municipal League in January 1999. The LMD is the organization of the country's mayors, and is responsible for dispersing approximately 4 percent of the national budget to municipal governments. The PRD holds a majority of the municipal governments and expected to elect one of its members to the presidency of the league at the January meeting. The police sealed off the building where the group was to convene, as well as the Congress, after protesters assembled to demonstrate about the impending elections. Police reportedly fired rubber bullets into the crowds of protesters, forcefully restrained Congressmen and mayors from entering the buildings, and used tear gas against the crowds.

The PRSC and PLD parties, and the PRD, then held separate elections to select the new president of the LMD. Opposition critics claimed that the incident was indicative of the growing rift between the PLD (and its PRSC allies) and the PRD, as well as the rift between the executive branch, the legislature, and local governments. The PRSC candidate, supported by the PRD, was eventually recognized as the head of the LMD, but the institution did not function effectively.

Election campaigning in 2000 was relatively peaceful, although there were isolated instances of violence. On April 29, two PLD activists were killed in Moca during a PRD campaign rally. PLD members claimed that PRD supporters shot into a group of PLD flag wavers. In contrast, PRD supporters argued that PLD opposition members were trying to "ambush" their presidential candidate's motorcade. There was also political violence in San Pedro de Macoris at the end of April in which a vice mayor and secretary general of the PRD were wounded by gunfire when their party was carrying out a medical mission in one of the neighborhoods. During the August 16 election, an argument between political rivals reportedly led to the fatal shooting of an unidentified man in San Juan de la Maguana.

The OAS and domestic NGOs criticized the inequality of the 2016 political campaigns. As dictated by law, major parties, defined as those that received 5 percent of the vote or more in the previous elections, received 80 percent of public campaign finances, while minor parties had to share the remaining 20 percent of public funds. A domestic NGO pointed to large increases in government spending on advertising in the months leading up to the elections to criticize the government and incumbent PLD party for using public funds to fund their campaign, which is expressly prohibited by law. According to civil society groups, the incumbent PLD party also used public funds, in addition to public campaign funds, to pay for advertising.

During the first trimester of 2016, during the height of the elections campaign, the government and the PLD, ranked number two and three, respectively, behind Claro, the nation’s largest telecom company, in terms of advertising expenditures. According to election monitors, in 2015 the government spent more than 10 million pesos ($220,000) per day on average on advertising. In the first months of 2016, that figure climbed to more than 14 million pesos ($310,000) per day, and the Office of the President’s publicity budget increased more than 300 percent. Similar increases occurred throughout other government ministries. This spending decreased after President Medina ordered a stop to the use of public funds for the campaign in March. According to civil society groups, this revenue in turn influenced the few media conglomerates and encouraged them to censor voices in disagreement with their largest client, the incumbent PLD party.

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Page last modified: 23-06-2017 14:16:17 ZULU