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Leonel Fernandez 2016, loveless marriage

In a column in Hoy newspaper today, Wednesday 28 January 2015, sociologist Rosario Espinal writes that Dominicans may be headed towards a loveless marriage with former President Leonel Fernandez. According to Espinal, it is very likely that Leonel Fernandez will be the PLD presidential candidate in the 2016 national election, and it is very likely that he will win the election given what she calls the pathetic state of the political opposition.

She adds that his legacy is there, with bright points and shadows, and the shadows block out the rays of light. She highlights that corruption is the dominant negative theme, but in her commentary she also points to contradictions between what Fernandez preached and what he did.

For instance, she mentions that throughout his government, Fernandez maintained that education made a difference, but during his three terms investment in education was low, below the legal minimum, and he did not push for a program to improve quality of education either. She compares this to Danilo Medina’s initiatives that have more than doubled education spending, improved public school teacher wages and implemented the extended school days that benefit poor families.

She observes that the same thing has happened with the foreign service. Fernandez was savvy about international relations, she comments, but his government was known for political patronage prevailing in appointments to Dominican missions abroad, with thousands of people receiving favors from the government and being paid generous wages in dollars whether they lived abroad or stayed in the DR, and many were not even qualified for the posts to which they were appointed. She highlights the decadent state of Dominican diplomacy at the end of the Fernandez government, pointing out the contrasts with Danilo Medina, who is not an expert in international relations, but has launched major changes in the sector.

“In two-and-a-half years as President, Medina has awakened new hope that the country can head in a better direction despite the problems. This is the root of his high approval,” she writes.

She concludes that, “Leonel Fernandez’s great political disadvantage is based on the fact that a wide segment of the population does not see him as a generator of hope. This is his greatest political challenge, not whether he will win or lose the internal battle within the PLD or the 2016 election, because to govern without generating hope among citizens is like a loveless marriage. It becomes a very heavy cross.”

Source: DR1,

January 28, 2015

Category: DR News |

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