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Dominican election: the price of pig trotters

Friday, March 2, 2012


WHAT The race for the presidency is getting tight, as the campaign enters its final phase. The candidate of the governing Liberation Party, Danilo Medina, reached a level of support of 43% in the latest polls, after being as low as 32% last year. But Hipólita Mejía, of the Revolutionary Democratics, remains strong at 49%, with only two months to go before the election, scheduled for May 12.

WHY Medina is the heir designated by incumbent president Leonel Fernández, whose government is using any available means to promote the party and its candidate, including the participation of the President’s wife. Margarita Cedeño, one of the popular public figures in the DR, is running as Medina’s Vice president.

WHAT NEXT Despuite big promises for the future, and the hand-out of short-term pre-election goodies, the governing party may have a hard time staying in power. The macro economics of the DR have been strong during the Fernández administration, with average annual growth in the value of national production during the past two years of close to 7%.

But little of this revenue has trickled down to the average Dominican, whose wages have for the most part not kept up with increases in the cost of living, including the price of "paticas" (traditional pig-trotter stew). Meanwhile, close to 30% of the workforce has no job. If Mejía is elected, rich Dominicans can expect a Lula-type program, in which they pay more taxes, to help improve the education system, and to provide support payments, so that the poorest people can send their children to school.

For more information, please contact Esteban Alvarez, at [email protected]