In the Dominican Republic, Protests Could Challenge the Ruling Party’s Grip

In the Dominican Republic, Protests Could Challenge the Ruling Party’s Grip
People protesting a constitutional reform that would have allowed Dominican President Danilo Medina a third term in office, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, July 12, 2019 (AP photo by Tatiana Fernandez).

Millions of voters in the Dominican Republic got a surprise when they showed up to cast their ballots in municipal elections on Feb. 16. Several hours after balloting had begun, the government said it had found inconsistencies in the functioning of voting machines and ordered the immediate suspension of the elections. In numerous cases, opposition candidates’ names did not appear on the electronic ballots. The next day, the country’s electoral board announced the municipal elections would be postponed to March 15, and would be conducted with paper ballots.

The cause of the malfunctioning voting system, which was recently purchased for a total of $19 million, is not immediately clear. The Organization of American States is investigating the issue at the Dominican government’s request, and no evidence has emerged to suggest the machines were tampered with.

Nonetheless, many Dominicans were outraged and have organized protests in recent weeks against the mishandled elections. Thousands of people have taken to the streets of the capital, Santo Domingo, as well as other cities around the country to demand the immediate resignation of the electoral board’s members and a guarantee that future elections will be free, fair and transparent. The largely peaceful demonstrations have also spread to Dominican diaspora communities in cities like Philadelphia, New York, London, Madrid and Toronto. In addition to the rescheduled municipal vote, protesters are worried about potential irregularities in the upcoming presidential election in May.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.

More World Politics Review