Monday, May 21, 2012

Dominican Elections

Well the elections are over and it looks like we will have a new President in August. Same party, different name. This one is Danilo Medina. This election was very similar to the others, whether at local level or national. It went like this.

1. Launch your campaign to be President. Start having convoys all around the country, and think of a catchy phrase such as "LLego Papa" which means "Daddy is coming".

2. Have a team producing all sorts of fake things. Fake photographs, fake web pages, fake documents, fake recordings. Give them to the press who then publish them, hence smearing the reputation of the candidates or the party. I do not understand why the press print these stories, nor whether they are paid to print them. They are often found to be fake and rarely the perpetrator seems to pay the price.Also it is impossible to know whether the information is true or false. Each election the subject of the smears changes and this year the theme was mostly corruption.

3. The week before the election, the party who thinks they might lose lays the groundwork for the potential shouts of "They were cheating". This time around it was said that the military were threatening those who wanted to vote for the PRD, and earlier that there were problems in the computer centre where the numbers of votes would be entered.

4. On election day they say that both sides were buying cedulas which are the national identity cards needed to vote. Before the elections there were around 400,000  people getting replacement cedulas saying that they had lost theirs. You can sell your cedula on election day for anything between 200 and 1000 RD$. I find it interesting that everyone blames the parties for buying cedulas, but never the people themselves for selling them. It is the parties fault they say, it is fraud they say, but if the Dominicans didn't sell their cedulas and exercised their right to vote then there would not be a problem.

5. The results come out and the winning party celebrates and the losing party screams fraud. Over the next couple of days the losers come up with all sorts of reasons why they should have won, and that the other side cheated. The outcome never changes.

In some ways the Dominican Republic is so advanced. The website for the Central Electoral Court, the Junta Electoral, is very professional. The system for sending the results from each voting office is good and fast. But last night the Junta website was down and still is this morning. A television station was broadcasting the results and was closed down by the Junta. There are all sorts of claims of fraud, cedula buying, mistakes on the electoral roll, threats and the rest. A few people were even shot.

And now as I wait for the official proclamation of the new Dominican Republic President, Danilo Medina. I  hope and pray he does what he says he would do. Improve education, lift thousands out of poverty, stop corruption, provide more employment opportunities. The Dominican people really really deserve that. I just wish I could feel a bit more optimistic that it would happen.


  1. Hi Lindsay, I am just glad it's all over, and I also wish the best for this country too. I'm keeping my hopes up :)

    Have a great week.

    1. Me too. Lets see what happens in the first few months and congratulations on voting!

  2. The Portuguese have a say when it comes to politics "same s###, different flies" Sad reality is that most politicians promise so much and then then do so little. It´s sad that Dominicans will sell their "cedulas" to have money, when they should be doing their duty and elect a truly deserving person into power. The parties are to blame in as much as they offer to buy them, but it´s the voters who should not sell themselves!

    1. Wise people those Portuguese. Hopefully the practice of selling cedulas will stop one day - but I am not convinced.

  3. Hi Lindsay buenos Dias!
    I am glad presidential elections are over and done. I really like your analysis about the dominican elections,
    But one thing "llego papa " translate more like our father has arrived. Which in theory is the notion that
    Our benefactor has come to protect us. Most of the time the presidential candidate is someone that
    Had been working very close to the gov't knowing all of their dirty tricks to achieve power, which is why
    The loosing party always have to fight back before their dirty tricks are aired too. Buying cedulas has been
    One of the oldest tricks used. But take in consideration this. You live somewhere where there is nothing
    And out of nothing you must make something to survive. If you haven't seen 1000 pesos all together
    On top of the other, someone offers you 1000 for your vote in such conditions, trust me this person will not say no to such deal. They know nothing is going to change and at least they "won" 1000 for their vote.
    It is what it is. Latin America countries have their history of bad gov't all around. But things are changing.
    Perhaps we can hope that since Danilo came from San Juan de la Maguana, he will remember that
    And if not the country at least fix certain parts of it such as education, poverty, youth, electricity and crime.
    Solo en dominicana !!!!

    1. Thank you for explaining a little more about the politics here. I too hope that Danilo will fix things!