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Dominican Republic - Elections - 2010s

Election - 2010 - Legislative

In all, 26 parties contested the 2010 elections. The PLD and its ally, the Social Christian Reformist Party (PRSC) of Mr. Carlos Morales, were challenged by Mr. Vargas' PRD. The PLD ran on the government's record, arguing that voting for PLD candidates meant voting for progress and development. President Fernandez pledged to amend the country's legislation to bring it in line with the new Constitution that prohibits human trafficking. This was in response to the problems posed by the country's construction and agriculture industries, which depend on labour that is "imported", often illegally, from neighbouring Haiti.

The PRD criticized the government for wasting money and failing to stem crime. It accused the PLD of misuse of State funds and massive vote-buying in the municipality of Samaná. The government declared public holidays from 15 May to midday on 17 May to facilitate voting, which took place on 16 May. In all, 56.44 per cent of the 6.1 million registered voters turned out at the polls.

The elections were marred by violence, with five persons reportedly killed and 13 injured. President Fernandez condemned the violence. The Organization of American States (OAS) monitored the polls. It recommended more effective control over the use of State funds during elections. It added that ballot papers should be redesigned to facilitate vote counting.

The ruling PLD and its allies swept 31 of the 32 Senate seats and the PRSC took the remaining seat. The PRD failed to win a Senate seat. The PLD and its allies took 105 seats in the Chamber of Deputies, while the PRD and its allies took 75. In all, 38 women were elected to the Chamber of Deputies and three to the Senate.

Election - 2012 - Presidential

On 20 May 2012, voters elected Danilo Medina of the Dominican Liberation Party (PLD) as president for a four-year term. Impartial outside observers assessed these elections as generally free and orderly despite irregularities, including voter fraud, unequal access to the media, and inadequacies in the legal framework that regulates the use of public resources and campaign financing.

The Dominican Revolutionary Party won the most votes of any single party, but the PLD won the popular vote with the support of coalition parties. The OAS, which had an electoral observation mission present throughout the electoral process, noted several inadequacies in the legal framework that regulates the electoral process in important areas such as the use of public resources, campaign financing, and equitable access to the media.

The observation mission and other independent observers received complaints regarding the right of Dominicans of Haitian descent to vote. Due to restrictive civil registry policies enforced by the JCE, thousands of Dominicans of Haitian descent were unable to obtain the citizenship documents required to participate in the elections. Observers witnessed the purchase of identity cards and votes by supporters of the various political parties on election day. Observers also reported the use of electoral propaganda in voting centers.

Election - 2016 - General Elections

On 15 May 2016, voters participated in general elections for all levels of government and elected Danilo Medina of the PLD as president for a second four-year term. According to the JCE, more than 69 percent of the electorate voted. The JCE instituted a new system of electronic vote counting during this election. According to international observers and experts on electronic voting systems, the JCE did not follow international standards, as it neither audited nor gradually implemented the system. In response to doubts about the new system, several opposition political parties publicly and formally complained to the JCE, but the JCE did not respond directly to their complaints.

On election day many electronic voting systems failed or remained unused. The JCE had previously used an accurate and efficient manual count system, which many voting centers used instead of the new electronic system. The various vote-counting procedures confused results, such that the JCE did not announce final, official results with all ballots counted until 13 days after the elections. Many congressional and municipal races remained contested for weeks after, leading to sporadic protests and violence. On election day the Organization of American States (OAS) and domestic observers noted widespread political campaigning immediately outside of voting centers in violation of the law, as well indications of vote buying.

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