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Dominican Republic

“The Dominican Republic is a representative democracy or democratic republic,[2][3][16] with three branches of power: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 4-year terms. The national legislature is bicameral,composed of a Senate,which has 32 members, and the Chamber of Deputies, with 178 members.[16] Judicial authority rests with the Supreme Court of Justice's 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 an opposition or non–governing-party member. The Court "alonehears actions against the president, designated members of his Cabinet, and members of Congress when the legislature is in session."[16]

The president appoints the governors of the 31 provinces. Mayors and municipal councils administer the 124municipal districts and the National District (Santo Domingo). They are elected at the same time as congressional representatives.[16]

The Dominican Republic has a multi-party political system. Elections are held every two years, alternating between the Presidential elections, which are held in years evenly divisible by four, and the Congressional and municipal elections, which are held in even-numbered yearsnot divisible by four. "International observers have found that presidential and congressional elections since 1996 have been generally freeand fair."[16] The Central Elections Board (JCE)of 9 members supervises elections, and its decisions are unappealable.[16]

There are many political parties and advocacy groups and, new on the scene, civil organizations. The three major parties are the conservative Social Christian Reformist Party (Spanish: Partido Reformista Social Cristiano[PRSC]), in power 1966–78 and 1986–96; the social democratic Dominican Revolutionary Party (Spanish: Partido Revolucionario Dominicano[PRD]), in power in 1963, 1978–86, and 2000–04; and the originally leftist,increasingly conservative Dominican Liberation Party (Spanish: Partido de la Liberación Dominicana [PLD]), in power1996–2000 and since 2004.

The presidential elections of 2008 were held on May 16, 2008, within cumbent Leonel Fernández winning with 53% of the vote.[131] He defeated Miguel VargasMaldonado, of the PRD, who achieved a 40.48% share of the vote. Amable Aristy,of the PRSC, achieved 4.59% of the vote. Other minority candidates, which includes former Attorney General Guillermo Moreno from the Movement for Independence, Unity and Change (Movimiento Independencia, Unidad y Cambio [MIUCA]) and PRSC former presidential candidate and defector EduardoEstrella obtained less than 1% of the vote.

TheDominican Republic has the second largest economy[11] (the largest, according to the U.S.State Department)[16] in Central America and theCaribbean. It is an upper middle-income developingcountry,[132] with a 2007 GDP per capita of$9,208, in PPP terms, which is relatively high inLatin America. In the trimester of January–March 2007 it experienced anexceptional growth of 9.1% in its GDP, which was actually below the previousyear's 10.9% in the same period. Growth was led by imports, followed byexports, with finance and foreign investment the next largest factors.[133]

The Dominican Republic is primarily dependent on natural resources and government services. Although theservice sector has recently overtaken agriculture as the leading employer of Dominicans (due principally to growth in tourism and Free Trade Zones), agriculture remains the most important sector in terms of domestic consumption and is in second place,behind mining, in terms of export earnings. The service sector in general has experienced growth in recent years, as has construction. Free Trade Zoneearnings and tourism are the fastest-growing export sectors. Real estate tourism alone accounted for $1.5 billion in earnings for 2007.[134] Remittances from Dominicans living abroad amounted to nearly $3.2 billion in 2007.[16]

The Naco sector, in Santo Domingo, with a view of Tiradentes Avenue

Economic growth takes place in spite of a chronic energy shortage,[135] which causes frequent blackouts andvery high prices. Despite a widening merchandise trade deficit, tourism earnings and remittance shave helped build foreign exchange reserves. The Dominican Republic is current on foreign private debt.

Following economic turmoil in the late 1980s and 1990, during which the gross domestic product (GDP) fellby up to 5% and consumer price inflation reached an unprecedented 100%, the Dominican Republic entered a period of growth and declining inflation until2002, after which the economy entered a recession.[16]

This recession followed the collapse of the second-largest commercial bank in the country, Baninter, linked to a major incident of fraud valued at $3.5 billion, during the administration of President HipólitoMejía (2000–2004).The Baninter fraud had a devastating effect on the Dominican economy, with GDPdropping by 1% in 2003 as inflation ballooned by over 27%. All defendants, including the star of the trial, Ramon Baez Figueroa, were convicted. One subpoena was not delivered because the United States denied extradition.

According to the 2005Annual Report of the United Nations Subcommittee on Human Development in the Dominican Republic, the country is ranked No. 71 in the world for resource availability, No. 79 for human development, and No. 14 in the world for resource mismanagement. These statistics emphasize national government corruption,foreign economic interference in the country, and the rift between the rich and poor.

The country has a note dproblem of child labor in its coffee, rice, sugarcane, and tomato industries.[136] The labor injustices in the sugarcane industry extends to forced labor according to the U.S. Department of Labor” (,Accessed on 10 April 2013)

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