|Dominican voters are called to renew the bi-cameral Congress on May 16. These will be the first legislative elections celebrated after a new Constitution was adopted in January 2010.
The three main political parties in the country are the Dominican Liberation Party (PLD), the Dominican Revolutionary Party (PRD) and the Social Christian Reformist Party (PRSC). Current president Leonel Fernández belongs to the PLD.
On May 5, PRD representatives officially accused the PLD of planning "a massive purchase of votes" in the municipality of Samaná before the Central Electoral Board (JCE).
On May 9, PLD campaign leader Francisco Javier García expressed confidence in his party achieving a commanding majority in the upcoming vote, saying, "There is no competition here. We know who is winning the election; here, nobody is talking about who will have majorities—it is clear that the PLD and the allied forces will be the majority."
Also on May 9, Fernández was criticized for actively campaigning for his party’s candidates. The president is not supposed to take part in political rallies.
On May 12, the PRD presented a formal complaint before the Organization of American States (OAS) and the United Nations (UN) saying that there are no full guarantees to participate in free and fair elections in the Dominican Republic. The PRD alleges that the PLD is abusing its access to state funds and state media for advancing its political campaign.
The OAS has deployed over 50 election observers to the Dominican Republic.
Voting took place on May 16. Initial reports stated that five people were killed and 13 wounded in clashes between PLP and PRD supporters. Turnout was tabled at 58 per cent, 1.5 points higher than in the 2006 ballot.
According to preliminary official results released on May 17, the governing PLP secured 31 seats in the 32-member Senate. A PRSC candidate secured the remaining seat. The PRD was left out of the upper house for the first time since 1970.
PLD secretary-general Reinaldo Pared Pérez said that the party will secure between 100 and 104 mandates in the 183-seat lower house. PRD leader Miguel Vargas Maldonado asserted that his party "made gains" in Congress compared to the 2006 ballot, adding that this will allow it to "contain the totalitarian rush" of the sitting government.
César Pina Toribio, a government spokesperson, referred to the PLD’s landslide in the ballot, declaring that the Dominican people "have not given us a full license to do whatever we please with power."
OAS observers denounced "the use of state media for the purpose of proselytism," and an imbalance caused by the absence of caps for private campaign donations........
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Tensions after the elections according to DR1.com on May 21.
JCE says it will not be pressured
"These things are not resolved with protests or riots because in the end we do not give in to pressure, this is a court and here the things have to be done according to the law".
This was the answer from the head of the Central Electoral Board (JCE), Julio Cesar Castanos Guzman, when reporters asked him about the complaints, threats and protests generated by candidates and parties that are objecting to the election results.
The head of the JCE thinks that the dissidents could be wasting their time with the expiration of the legal deadlines for filing complaints by making statements "in the newspapers and running around". He said that this "fussing" is usual in our political culture.
Yesterday, the leaders of several political parties continued "marching" to the headquarters of the JCE to claim "their piece of the pie". The first were the Social Christian Reformists (PRDC), the Christian Democratic Quisqueyano (PQDC) and the Social-Democratic Institutional Bloc (BIS), who claimed that having obtained 1% of the popular vote, they should have one of the at-large deputy positions. According to Tacito Perdomo, Elias Wessin Chavez, Jacqueline Ramirez and Jose Francisco Pena Guaba, the JCE Administrative Chamber had made a mistake by giving the PLD 3 at-large deputies and the PRD party 2. They base their claims on the fact that the regulations for the presentation of these posts say that, "they will be assigned in function of a seat for each party that obtains 1% until they fill the total number of seats (NT: 5 in this case)". Castanos said that it would be up to the Plenary to decide on this issue.
Tension in Esperanza as both claim victory
The town of Esperanza in Valverde (Mao) province is going through some tense moments as both the PRD and PLD claim victory in the mayor's race. According to Hoy newspaper, Cesar Dominguez and his fellow PRD supporters are accusing the head of the local election board, Mario de Leon, of refusing to recount the votes. Meanwhile, the current mayor (and possibly the re-elected mayor) Nao Mena is holding court and celebrating his "victory" even before the local election board has counted the last of the ballot boxes and issued its last bulletin. Amidst shots fired in the air and some pushing and shoving, PRD president Miguel Vargas Maldonado paid a personal visit to local PRD leader Jose Valenzuela to help find a solution to the conflict.