Tired of Endless Election Cycles? Perhaps the Dominican Republic Has The Answer
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic – Political candidates, parties, independent policy groups and their members and supporters in this island nation all got a stiff warning recently — if they campaign outside the prescribed times for that activity they will face fines and ejection from the ballot.
The Central Electoral Board of the Dominican Republic is a special body of the government responsible for ensuring a democratic and impartial electoral process.
It’s also, as those of Dominican ancestry know, the administer of the nation’s marriage registry.
But in a development first published in the Periódico El Caribe newspaper, the board announced it is cracking down on constant electioneering and handing out punishments to violators of the rules as spelled out in the nation’s Law on Political Parties, Groups and Movements.
The law states that “Candidates who start their campaign before the official campaign or pre-campaign time will be sanctioned with the inadmissibility of the candidacy.”
Short of that, those who ignore the order to stop campaigning receive a fine equivalent to $55,000 U.S. dollars.
The ordinance prohibits the holding of mass events such as rallies, marches, caravans, dissemination of electoral propaganda, placement of billboards, posters, banners, in public spaces and places.
It also prohibits the promotion of candidates and issues through means of communication such as radio, television, social networks or any other way information can be transmitted to the population.
The most recent general election in the Dominican Republic was held on July 5, 2020, when the nation’s voters elected a new president, vice-president, 32 senators and 190 deputies.
Incumbent President Danilo Medina was ineligible to stand for re-election, having served two consecutive terms since 2012, and the election itself represented something of a sea change for the country with the governing Dominican Liberation Party’s rule ending after 16 years.
Instead, the Modern Revolutionary Party, a relative upstart finally achieved the status of a major party in the country, it’s candidate, Luis Abinader, being elected president while the party itself won a majority of seats in the Senate and a plurality in the Chamber of Deputies.
Abinader was officially sworn in as president on August 16, but already people across the nation are looking ahead to the next election, which the Congressional Research Center says is currently scheduled for May 2024.
According to Dominican Today, an island publication, the Central Electoral Board’s order of an immediate halt to campaigning was the result of a rash of “activism” on behalf of candidates for the election, which is still nearly three years away.
The “pre-campaign season” for the next election starts on the first Sunday of July 2023, and will conclude with the selection of candidates. At that point, the Electoral Board will issue a proclamation, declaring the official campaign season to have begun.