What Will Medina’s Second Term Bring the DR?

“The old adage ‘Results speak for themselves,’ applies particularly to the Dominican Republic under the PLD (Partido de la Liberación Domini- cana) and President Danilo Medina. After weathering recent years’ blistering criticism of the Dominican Republic’s Supreme Court ruling denying the citizenship of undocu- mented Haitians and their descendants in the country, Medina just won a record-break- ing first-round victory for re-election, now permitted after a constitutional amendment last year. With a 20-year average economic growth north of 5 percent—around 7 percent for 2014 and 2015—Medina has presided over one of the fastest growing economies of the region. Growth was accompanied by low inflation, strong job creation and sharply declining poverty rates in the last two years, after a decade of high and sticky poverty rates following the DR’s 2003 financial crisis. What’s not to like?

Add in the fact that Medina faced a fractured field of seven opponents, in which the candidate of the DR’s PRM (Partido Revoluciónario Moderno—rough successor to its tradition- al, major opposition party, the PRD), Luis Abinader received only about 57 percent of Medina’s total, and the reasons for Medina’s re-election become pretty obvious. Based on the PLD’s record of economic management during its time in office, it seems likely that Medina’s second term team will be able to master its macroeconomic challenges ahead. Without being close to developments on the much-needed power sector pact, if one considers the depth of the Dominican Republic’s entrenched parallel market for back-up power—due to its chronically unre- liable electricity—I’m not holding my breath. Medina’s greatest challenges will be to guard against the corruption and arrogance of power that usually accompanies long- term political dominance and to ensure that an authentically competitive party system survives in the Dominican Republic.”

This post originally appeared in the Latin America Advisor, a publication by the Inter-American Dialogue.

Philip Hughes G. Philip Hughes draws on a wealth of high-level foreign policy experience in developing and managing message campaigns for international companies.

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