How the President is Elected

Fernandez_podium_USDR_flagsThe government of the Dominican Republic is a total presidential system, meaning that the legislature and executive arms are completely independent. In this country, the president and the vice president contest and are elected jointly during a presidential election. The presidential election is a direct one, meaning that the winner is determined by the percentage of the total votes cast. The country is an absolute unitary state with all government officials being elected from the local to the national level.

On the national government level, the head of state, who is also the president, is directly elected by the citizens. The president-elect is the candidate who garners at least 50.1 percent of all valid votes. Article 209 of the Caribbean Country established that election for the presidency and the legislative representatives must be held on the third Sunday of May during an election year. Due to the difference in province population, a candidate can win in most provinces and still lose the election.

The country has a multi-party system, and the constitution determines the voters’ eligibility and how the elections are conducted. The law controls most aspects of elections like primaries, running of every Electoral College and running of local and national elections. The legislature and executive arms of governments are elected at one time, but the local government is elected separately. All members of the country’s national legislature are also elected in their local municipalities, municipal districts and cities.

dominican-1A person’s eligibility to vote is stipulated in the country’s constitution. It states that voting is a duty and a right of every citizen, and it should be free, direct, secret, and no one should be coerced or obligated to exercise his right or to disclose his decision. However, the constitution bars members of the National Police, the Armed Forces and those who have lost their citizenship, or those who are suspended. Examples of those with suspended citizen rights are convicted criminals or those accused of treason.

The projected number of citizens who will be entitled to vote in the 2016 elections is around 7.2 million. The Dominican Republic applies a mixed system featuring the world’s three most popular methods. The presidential election uses a two-round system, whereby a runoff is conducted between the first and the second candidate if no one garners the required number of votes. The Central Electoral Board is responsible for the direction, organization and supervision of the country’s elections while the Superior Electoral Tribunal juries all electoral disputes arising between parties or internally.