Constitutional amendment definitively approved. Re-election allowed.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - In Brief 15 Jun 2015 by Pavel Isa

In a second and definitive vote, last Friday the National Assembly approved to amend the Constitution. The amendment allows an incumbent President to be nominated for a second term and forbids him/her to run for President again ever. In a formal ceremony that took place on Saturday, the Assembly enacted the new Constitution. There is no doubt that under the new Constitution, President Medina will run again and that, given his high rates of approval, he has a great chance of being re-elected. Nonetheless, the process for getting the Constitution changed has probably eroded his popularity. On the one hand, Medina did not keep his word that he would not pursue a reform of the Constitution in order to get a second term. On the other hand, there were accusations of bribes to members of Congress and the agreement within PLD factions and between PLD and PRD to get the Constitution changed have been perceived by part of public opinion as illegitimate and as going against democratic values. All of the above have strengthened and energized the opposition and in particular the PRM and Luis Abinader, who yesterday, in a massive, well-organized and splendid act, was formally declared presidential candidate. However, it will be very difficult for the opposition to win the Presidency. Medina remains very popular and he and PLD have the great advantage of being in power which allows them to have significant political and financial resources at hand.

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