Abinader faces strong political opposition from outside and inside

Polls indicate that President Luis Abinader has a high popularity rating. A feature in El Caribe on 30 November 2021, nevertheless, makes the point the President faces strong opposition from three fronts – the Dominican Liberation Party (PLD), the People’s Force (FP) and leading voices in his own Modern Revolutionary Party (PRM).

The PLD is today presided by former President Danilo Medina. The Public Prosecutor’s Office is delving into major corruption cases tied mainly to the brothers and sisters of the former two-term president and his close associates, including former Attorney General, Jean Alain Rodriguez.

People’s Force (FP) is the political party created when former president of the PLD, former three term President Leonel Fernández split from the party when Danilo Medina allegedly rigged the party primary to favor his chosen candidate for president, Gonzalo Castillo over Leonel Fernandez.

In the 2020 municipal, congressional and presidential elections, the PRM allied with the FP for several elective positions.

But today, both Leonel Fernandez and Danilo Medina aspire to the presidency in the 2024 election. The 2015 Constitution would need to be amended in the case of Medina. Article 124 establishes that the President of the Republic may run for a second consecutive constitutional term. Yet the same Constitution has a transitory clause:
“In the event that the President of the Republic, corresponding to the constitutional period 2012-2016 [Danilo Medina], is a candidate for the same position, for the constitutional period 2016-2020, he/she may not run for the following period or for any other or for the vice presidency of the Republic”.

In a recent address, former President Danilo Medina accused the Abinader government of attempts to shame the leaders of that party to overshadow the past government’s achievements, but warned that the efforts will not succeed.

Leonel Fernández has attacked the Abinader government on grounds of the high prices. With the cry of “Out They Will Go,” Fernandez is calling attention to the rising prices and to bullish statements of the Central Bank authorities on the growth of the economy. This is the same slogan that propelled Fernandez to the Presidency in 2004.

The El Caribe political analysis by journalist Yanessi Espinal says that some of the strongest criticism to the Abinader administration is coming from a third front – PRM party leaders, namely Guido Gómez Mazara, Ramón Alburquerque and Rafael (Fafa) Taveras. Also, former JCE member and spokesperson for Hipólito Mejía, Eddy Olivares. These are spokespeople for many who have aspired to jobs in the government and have not been named.

The analysis makes the point the three front opposition has united in Congress. Evidence of this is the lack of support to Abinader administration proposals in Congress, including loans and even the National Budget that has yet to be passed. Likewise, recently the PRM-majority Senate presented a bill that would eliminate all tax exonerations if the tax privileges of the legislators are affected in the National Budget.

The El Caribe feature concludes on the three front opposition: “This opposition-government clash occurs in a context of national dialogue to discuss reforms and deal with the Haitian crisis. It remains to be seen if Abinader can manage to maintain governance.”

Read more in Spanish:
El Caribe
Diario Libre

30 November 2021