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Leonel Fernandez swimming against the current

For many years, Leonel Fernandez held immense power and dominated Dominican politics, writes Rosario Espinal in Hoy newspaper today, Wednesday 12 November 2014. She says that former President Joaquin Balaguer allowed Fernandez to rule from 1996 to 2000, and the then-PLD candidate Danilo Medina was defeated by the PRD’s Hipolito Mejia in 2000.

Espinal recalls that when Fernandez returned to the Presidency in 2004, the country was in a profound economic and political crisis and the opposition collapsed. Shortly after his return, the economy began to grow again, and the governing group began to amass wealth, while the political opposition entered into self-destruct mode.

She points out that with all that power, Fernandez undertook a constitutional reform that produced the 2010 Constitution.

The “never again” clause that impeded his return to power was eliminated.

Nevertheless, she writes that the “favorable winds” that Fernandez mentions the as central point of his campaign have been blowing.

She says the reasons are:

First, political power is not infinite, it is based on relations. She says that Fernandez should have retired when Medina became President, but he resisted and became the focus of discontent that was generated by a tax increase at the end of 2012. Since Fernandez was President for eight years, he received the blame for the deficit, and has never recovered.

Second, from 2004-2012, the National Budget was inflated, the public debt increased and public works served as political support. In a country without effective controls in public administration, this became the bounty for enriching the political leadership. She highlights that in countries with corruption and impunity levels as high as in the Dominican Republic, corruption is of the public domain and only generates strong winds when there are schisms in the upper echelons of power. The scale of these schisms will be revealed as the case against Felix Bautista progresses, stagnates or collapses. Meanwhile, Leonel Fernandez is in the eye of the hurricane of corruption together with several of his closest aides.

Third, Danilo Medina’s followers and all those who aspire to the PLD presidential candidacy know that the lion to tame is Leonel Fernandez. Medina’s high approval levels have toppled the idea that there is only one leader of the PLD. The Danilo followers feel empowered and do not want to give up so easily. The other candidates know that they have to weaken Fernandez in order to compete. Finally, the PLD that was devoted to its leader is now fragmented.

Given these obstacles, Fernandez is moving countercurrent with his presidential aspirations, she writes. “Instead of taking shelter and resetting, he is exposing himself and repeating errors. Even with a collapsed political opposition.”

Source: DR1, Hoy

Category: DR News |

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Last updated March 25, 2017 at 5:40 PM
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