Deputies approve in stormy session Law of Political Parties
SANTO DOMINGO.- Despite the fact that the Chamber of Deputies yesterday declared the legislative proposal of the Law on Parties and Political Organizations to be urgent, they only managed to approve it, with modifications, in a first reading.
The Chamber decided to wait until next Thursday’s session’s, at 10:00 in the morning, in order to approve this proposal in a second reading.
It was approved in the first reading with 83 votes in favor and 63 against. Six deputies of the 156 that were present did not vote.
With the objective of achieving the necessary quorum to approve the legislation in a second consecutive session, the president of the Lower Chamber, Abel Martinez, asked for a five-minute recess.
Nevertheless, when this time was up, Martinez seconded a proposal by the spokesman for the deputies from the Dominican Liberation Party (PLD), Ruben Maldonado, for the postponement of its approval for next Thursday, at 10:00 in the morning. This suggestion was accepted.
The deputies accepted, in the midst of a great commotion and complaints, some modifications among which was one suggestion by the PLD Deputy Manuel Jimenez that the internal processes of the parties be organized, directed and controlled by the Central Electoral Board (JCE), and with which they would modify articles 31 and 33 of the proposal. This suggestion was approved with 77 votes in favor and 72 against and nine deputies did not vote.
After the approval of this modification several excited PLD legislators were heard to shout: “We challenged the Political Committee!”
The hubbub in the chamber was so strong that the proposals for modifications submitted to a vote by Martinez practically went unheard.
Also, the deputies accepted a suggestion by Martinez regarding the use of state resources. The paragraph added says that it is “prohibited to use public assets and funds belonging to any of the levels or stages of the State for self advantage or for the candidates postulated by the party except for the contribution indicated in the present law. This disposition will be effective starting at the opening of the election campaign by the competent agency.” The proposal was announced in the midst of the debates regarding the “sanity” of the debates themselves, according to the president of the Lower Chamber.
In addition, the plenary rejected a proposal by Deputy Magda Rodriguez to establish parity in the quota of the candidacies granted to men and women. Another suggestion that was rejected was one put forward by Deputy José Paliza regarding the use of state resources and the origin of the private contributions for the election campaigns.
The deputies accepted a modification suggested by the spokesman of the PRSC, Ramon Rogelio Genao, that established that “80% – should be – distributed in equal parts, between the parties which obtain more than 5% of the votes in the last election.”
The declaration of urgency was proposed by Genao.
Some 24 deputies took part in the debates which continued for more than four hours.
Deputy Minou Tavarez Mirabal asked that the legislative proposal for the Law of Parties to be read “article by article” due to the fact that she was certain that 22 articles that had been agreed upon had been eliminated. She criticized the fact that fundamental aspects were removed to avoid transparency, regulation, and equality.
At the end of the debates the deputies decided to eliminate a paragraph from the report presented by the special commission which said that the proposal should be approved with the favorable votes of the two thirds of the deputies present in both chambers. Martinez argued that this was an error and he was seconded by several deputies.
He also warned, that “we should not fool ourselves nor fool Dominican society, if this is not approved today (yesterday) we will not have a Law of Parties.”
The affirmation by Deputy José Jaquez that the PLD “abuses the country, which is tired of you,” generated annoyance which caused the vice president of the chamber, Luciana Medina, who was the head of the session, to ask her colleagues to stop the provocations.
What the PRM and PRD say
The PRM spokesman, Nelson Arroyo, said that since the PLD could not approve in two consecutive readings this legislative proposal because by declaring it urgent they would require the favorable votes of two thirds parts of those present, they postponed its approval for next Thursday. He criticized the fact that the PLD refuses to have the names revealed of those in the private sector that contribute to the political parties.
The PRD deputy Victor Gomez Casanova said that this law should be approved with a qualified majority, because it affects the electoral regime. He cited article 112 of the Constitution.
The proposal that was approved establishes that no person elected for an elective position could be substituted unless he resigns the position; it grants a quota of 25% of reserved candidacies and permits that the parties choose the voter registration lists that they desire in order to celebrate their primaries.
The start of the session was delayed because the PRM and PLD blocs were meeting before hand. The President of the PRM revealed that he issued instructions to his deputies so that they would not vote in favor of the project because it did not guarantee equality and transparency. Andres Bautista alleged, during a press conference, that deputies Ramon Bueno and Jorge Frias would withdraw their signatures from the report by the special commission. When Bueno asked to withdraw his signature Martinez told him that it was impossible. He suggested using “liquid paper.”
March 4, 2015
Category: DR News |