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Government and Politics

pic1The Dominican Republic has a representative democracy or a democratic republic with three branches: executive, legislative and judicial. The President of the Dominican Republic heads the executive branch and executes laws passed by the Congress, appoints the Cabinet, and is commander in chief of the armed forces. The president and vice president run for office on the same ticket and are elected by direct vote for a period of four years. The bicameral legislature consisting of a Senate, which has 32 members, and the Chamber of Deputies, with 178 members.

The judicial power is vested in the Supreme Court of Justice of 16 members. They are appointed by a council composed of the President, the leaders of both houses of Congress, the President of the Supreme Court, and a member of the opposition or not of the ruling party. The Court “alone hears actions against the president, designated members of his Cabinet and members of Congress when the legislature is in session. President appoints the governors of the provinces of thirty-one. Mayors and municipal councils administer the districts, 124 municipalities and the National District (Santo Domingo). They are elected at the same time as congressional representatives.

The Dominican Republic has a multiparty political system. Elections are held every two years, alternating between the Presidential elections, which are held in years divisible by four, and congressional and municipal elections, which are held in even-numbered years not divisible by four. “International observers have found that presidential and congressional elections since 1996 have been generally free and fair.” The Central Electoral Board (JCE) of 9 members supervises elections, and its decisions are final.

There are many political parties and interest groups and, new on the scene, civil organizations. The three major parties are the conservative Social Christian Reformist Party, the Social Democratic PRD, and the origin of the left, the Dominican Liberation Party increasingly conservative.

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