Politics in the Domincan Republic

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Politics in the Domincan Republic

The Government

The government of the Dominican Republic is structured as a representative democracy. The country gained its independence on February 27, 1844 from Haiti and celebrates the national holiday every year. The constitution that it abides by today was not written until over a century after they became independent; it was enacted on November 28, 1966 (Nation Master).

There are three branches in the system of government: executive, legislative and judicial. The executive branch today is headed by the Dominican chief of state and head of government, President Leonel Fernandez Reyna and his Vice President, Jaime David Fernandez Mirabal. The president is also the Supreme Commander of the country’s police and armed forces. They were sworn into office on August 16, 1996 (Presidency of the DR). The president and vice president are elected on the same ticket, by popular vote, for terms of four years; they can be reelected. The executive branch also includes a cabinet, made up of people nominated by the president.

The Senate and the Chamber of Deputies form a bicameral Congress in the Dominican Republic’s legislative branch. There are 30 members of the Senate (Senado) who are elected by popular vote, also for four year terms. There is one senator delegated to each of the country’s 29 provinces and one for the national district. Each of these districts also has a governor who is appointed by the President. The Chamber of Deputies (Camara de Diputados) consists of 120 members elected in the same manner as senators are (Nation Master).

The Supreme Court (Corte Suprema) facilitates the country’s judicial branch. The eleven judges in the Supreme Court are chosen by a council of people from the legislative and executive branches of the government. The President presides over the Supreme Court (Nation Master).

Family in Politics

Despite the fact that the government structure is much like that of the United States, Dominican politics are very different. Due to the fact that the country is so much smaller than the United States the politics are also on a much smaller scale. The politics are centered in the country’s one large city, Santo Domingo. As a result all of the politicians know each other and are often related by blood or marriage. Unlike American politics, those of the Dominican Republic frequently revolve around friendships, ethnic connections and family ties.

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