JCE needs RD$4 billion to stage elections
Starting now, the Central Electoral Board (JCE) is practically sitting idly by, and unable to complete the election staging timeline because it lacks more than RD$4 billion budgeted to prepare for the 15 May 2016 elections. The shortfall will affect specific actions for the reorganization of the elections, including the acquisition of equipment for data transmission on the day of the elections. Yesterday, Wednesday 6 May 2015, JCE president Roberto Rosario stated: “We cannot do anything else. We are waiting… We will do all we can, because we have a tight belt.” He said that everything that they have done so far is based on credit from suppliers, as well as with the money from the JCE Pension Plan.
The budget the JCE requested in 2014 was for more than RD$8 billion. Some RD$4 billion of this is for holding the elections. The Executive Branch only assigned RD$3.15 billion and according to the JCE they did not take the pre-election expenses into account.
Rosario said that they have been waiting for the funds to be disbursed since 1 January 2015, as so far they have not been given the money for the elections.
Asked about the statements by the Administrative Minister of the Presidency, Jose Ramon Peralta, who guaranteed the funds for the JCE, he responded: “Well, if it’s like that, then let’s go, if it is like that send it all over. I have been waiting since 1 January.”
JCE judge Cesar Feliz Feliz said that 1,500 new polling stations and a restructuring of the election boards have been instituted. “There is a pre-electoral budget and a general one. The elections are not prepared four months before the process, we began last October,” he stated, while telling reporters that they are spending an average of RD$400 million per month.
Meanwhile, JCE judge Eddy Olivares expressed confidence that the JCE would be given the funds needed for organizing the election process and dismissed suggestions that this would affect its development. “We have a mature democracy, a leadership that is sufficiently mature, sensible and committed to this democracy, so that this does not constitute a problem for the elections,” he stated. He added that during a recent meeting with Hacienda Minister Simon Lizardo, there were “good signs” from the administration for the solution of the problem. In his opinion, the situation reflects a lack of a solid institutionalism in the public sector when it comes to budgetary items.
The JCE recently suspended its advertising campaign to encourage Dominicans to change their identity cards and dismissed some 300 employees on the grounds of lack of funds.
May 7, 2015
Category: DR News |