Dominican Republic: Post-Balaguer Politics

Post-Balaguer Politics

Elections in 1996 led to a runoff that was won by the Dominican Liberation party (PLD) candidate, Leonel Fernández Reyna. A protégé of Bosch, Fernández was a lawyer who had been raised in New York City and had not previously held political office. Although the country enjoyed steady economic growth under Fernández, farmers and poorer Dominicans saw little improvement in their well-being, and his term was marred by corruption scandals.

In 2000, Hipólito Mejía Dominguez, an agronomist and businessman who was the PRD candidate, won the presidential election; he promised to aid those who had not benefited from the years of growth. The economy worsened, however, under Mejía, and he failed to win a second term in 2004, as voters elected his predecessor, Leonel Fernández, to the presidency. Also in 2004 the country agreed to join in a free-trade area with the United States and most Central American nations.

Improved economic conditions benefited Fernández's PLD in 2006, when the party secured a majority in the congressional elections, and Fernández himself was reelected in 2008. In 2010 the PLD again won the congressional elections. Danilo Medina, the PLD candidate, was elected president in 2012, defeating former president Mejía, and in 2016, benefiting from a prosperous tourism sector, he was reelected. Luis Abinader Corona, the candidate of the Modern Revolutionary party (PRM; which formed in 2014 after a split in the PRD), won the 2020 presidential election. The PRM also won majorities in the National Congress.

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