Freedom in the World
Freedom Rating (1 = best, 7 = worst)
Civil Liberties (1 = best, 7 = worst)
Political Rights (1 = best, 7 = worst)
The Dominican Republic received a downward trend arrow due to the revelation through several major scandals of the level of drug traffickers’ penetration of Dominican police and legal institutions, as well as new constitutional bans on abortion and gay marriage that are among the strictest in the world.
In 2009, support for President Leonel Fernandez of the Dominican Liberation Party began to wane amidst a worsening economic climate, as well as several major scandals involving collusion between drug traffickers and the police. The new constitution ratified in October included some of the toughest restrictions on abortion and gay marriage in the world.
The Dominican Republic faced new troubles in 2009 stemming from a wave of scandals involving the Dominican National Police, as well as a worsening economic climate. In February, 27 police officers, including two colonels, were charged with allowing drug dealers to operate in their districts with impunity. In August, another police unit was dismantled, and authorities launched an investigation into the alleged ties between nearly 200 officers and drug trafficking. Separately, lawyers and staffers in the government’s legal department were fired in relation to allegations of malfeasance in the Central Electoral Board. Controversy also erupted over bloated government payrolls after new reports revealed that some Dominican ministries had 10 times as many staff as equivalent ministries in neighboring countries. The Central Bank claimed 3.5 percent growth during 2009, but some analysts and rating agencies viewed that figure as optimistic, especially considering initial projections of a 1 percent contraction during the year.
he Dominican Republic is an electoral democracy. The 2008 presidential election and the 2006 legislative elections were determined to have been free and fair. The constitution provides for a president and a bicameral National Congress, both elected to four-year terms. The Congress consists of the 32-member Senate and the 178-member Chamber of Deputies. The three main political parties are the ruling PLD, the opposition PRD, and the smaller PRSC.