Dominican Watchdog to watch Danilo Medina very closely
Dominican Watchdog has just taken control of as it looks like he might become the next president in the Dominican Republic. Danilo will probably be forced by his PLD senators to continue in the same corrupt path as Leonel, and for that reason a special website about his potential future corrupt activities has now been activated!! Follow all about him here


Political rivals face-off Sunday in Dominican elections

Read more here: One portrays himself as the “safe change,” a straightforward choice to carry on the current administration’s policies. The other, who goes simply by “Papá,” is a divisive former president trying to recapture past glory.

Dominicans will vote for a president Sunday, bringing an end to a drawn-out campaign between the two career politicians.

A majority of recent polls suggests ruling Dominican Liberation Party (PLD) candidate Danilo Medina, 60, is poised to win with more than the 50 percent necessary to avoid a run-off election next month.

His opponent, Hipólito “Papá” Mejía, 71, of the Dominican Revolutionary Party (PRD), beat Medina in a landslide in the 2000 election. But the economic collapse that ensued and a series of campaign trail missteps have played against him.

“The trend has been in favor of Medina, especially since the beginning of the year,” said David Beattie, president of Washington, D.C.-based Hamilton Campaigns, which found in a May poll that 52 percent of 1,200 likely voters favored Medina, compared to 43 percent for Mejía. “I think the only way we see a second round is if there’s a very low turnout.”

Roughly 6.5 million Dominicans are eligible to vote, including 328,649 who live outside of the country. Turnout for presidential elections has historically been higher than 70 percent.

Medina has run a steady, if somewhat dull, campaign, promising to “continue what’s good” and “fix what’s bad.”

A former cabinet member and congressman, he has opened a wide lead in polls among female voters by promising to include more women in his government and choosing current first lady Margarita Cedeño de Fernández as his running mate.

The choice of Cedeño, who features heavily in campaign materials, was “important not just because she was a woman, but also because she is seen as a continuation of the Fernandez government,” said Dan Guzman, an analyst with Santo Domingo-based Asisa Research. “She is, right now, the most popular politician in the Dominican Republic.”

Meanwhile, Mejía’s remarks have turned away many female voters.

He recently caused a stir by suggesting domestic employees, a role filled almost exclusively by women, are an extension of a corrupt system because they’re prone to “steal a steak and give it to their boyfriends.”

“It was disrespectful, not just for domestic employees but for all women,” said Iris Guaba, who organizes the group Women United With Danilo, which has represents more than 30,000 female voters.

It wasn’t Mejía’s only gaffe. At a campaign event in New York, he suggested President Barack Obama came from Africa. He later backtracked on both comments.

The campaigns have been long on mudslinging and allegations of corruption and short on specifics.

With unemployment the biggest concern for Dominican voters, according to polls, the candidates ran largely similar platforms that promised to create some 400,000 jobs while investing in tourism and education.

Analysts said the campaign has become more of a referendum on the current president.

Under President Leonel Fernandez, who is constitutionally barred from running for a fourth term, the economy has grown steadily, including by an expected 4.5 percent this year, thanks largely to tourism. The country is the most visited destination in the Caribbean.

Below the surface, however, there is deep discontent with how the growth has been managed, said Carlos Báez Evertsz, a political analyst here and outspoken critic of the Fernandez government.

“If you walk through the barrios of Santo Domingo or ride public transportation, you hear the opposite [of the polls]. People are fed up with this government,” he said. The feeling is that “there has been an abuse of power to favor the party, which is a political-business group.”

Despite economic growth, unemployment is still high at around 15 percent and roughly one-in-three Dominicans live in poverty, according to the World Bank.

“This is a government that’s benefited the politicians instead of the people,” shouted a Mejía supporter at a recent campaign stop with Mejía’s rhythmic “Llegó Papá” (Daddy’s Here) campaign song blaring in the background.

But many recall Mejía’s 2000-2004 presidency as being markedly worse. Unemployment spiked from 13 percent when he took office to 19 percent when he left. The economy dipped into recession in 2003. And the second-largest bank collapsed amid scandal.

“He’s the first candidate in memory who has a higher percentage of people who disapprove of him than the percentage of people who said they will vote for him,” Guzman said.

In Asisa’s most recent poll, 47.4 percent of voters viewed Mejía negatively and 44.7 percent said they would vote for him.

Polls showed Mejía leading by between 15 and 20 points a year ago, before campaigning started to focus on his past.

“I lost my business when Papá was president. We don’t need to go back to that,” said plumber Julio Encarnacion, 32, who said he voted for Mejía in 2000 but was planning to vote for Medina on Sunday.

Encarnacion spoke in front of the crumbling facades of a downtown Santo Domingo commercial district as Medina concluded campaigning Thursday with a raucous rally.

“The economy still isn’t good, but it’s growing. They have a plan,” he said.

Both parties are expected to roll out massive get out the vote campaigns.

“There’s strong party loyalty on both sides,” Guzman said.

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Dominican Watchdog Note | Danilo Medina is the best candidate, what is left to see if he can make the needed changes of the extreme corrupt PLD government under Leonel Fernandez. If elected president you can follow his moves here

Go back | Date: 19 May 2012
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