Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Election time

It is election time down here in the DR as well.

It counts a lot here as well. Not that this is a super power, just a small isolated island nation, complete unto itself, neighbor to a fragile state.

But since there is no independent civil service, all the jobs are up for grabs with the presidential election. Imagine, not only the jobs in the executive changing hands but all the jobs in the government, not just the head of the central bank but the entire executive direction of the central bank. So the election here is very important. They spend a lot of money on it. The current president, Leonel Fernadez, who is up for his up for his third term, his second consecutive term, is expected to win the majority on the on the first runoff. They have primaries.Then they have have the general election. The winner has to get an absolute majority.

An independent civil service would go a long way to moving this country up on the international corruption scale.

The leading oppostion candidate achieved his wealth while director of public works under the last president, Hippoloto Meija, under whom the peso went to 50 to one dollar and who went on to national television and bragged that the “Dominican Republic has the best prostitutes in the world.”

The other candidate, Amable Aristy. calls himself the “candidate for the poor” and campaigns out of two Hummers and a helicopters, handing out frozen chickens and peso notes. He is not embarrassed to have profiles of himself in the Sunday style section with his monagrammed shirts and his Chanel glasses.

Over in Haiti, the President has submitted the name a new prime minister. Someone who used to work in the international development bank and who therefore caused a great furor with the left in 1997 when he was first nominated. Then , for some obsurce reason, the legislature was able to request the birth records of his grandparents, to prove his Haitian citizenship. He could not produce them and so was denied the post. Not surprising since most Haitians are lacking identity papers since one ususally has to pay for them. Haiti has moved from being the most corrupt nation in the world to the third most corrupt.

Funny how politics looks so similar from one nation to another. Seen from the TV clips and the just the headlines and videos, the US political campaign is beginning to look a bit like the broad comedy as well but with a lot more weapons of mass destruction at stake.

1 comment:

Troy & Tara Livesay Family said...

Just visiting your blog ... you left a comment a long time ago and I have been meaning to say Hi ever since. Hope you are well.