President Luis Abinader’s proposal to request Congress to cut 50% of the funds received by political parties poses a financial blow to these organizations, which sustain their main activities on those resources that they receive each year from the State, enshrined first in the Law Electoral number 275-97, and then in Law 33-18, on Political Parties, Groups and Movements.
The opposition organizations Fuerza del Pueblo and Partido Reformista Social Cristiano (PRSC) came to the forefront of President Abinader’s proposal, demanding respect for the laws, while the Dominican Liberation Party (PLD) announced that in the middle of this week it will set its position on the issue.
The economic contribution of the State to the recognized political parties, groups and movements is made by the Central Electoral Board (JCE). This year it amounts to more than RD $ 3,000 million for being an electoral year, from whose value the political parties that participated in the ordinary elections held on May 15, 2016 benefit.
Article 61 of Law 33-18 on Political Parties, Groups and Movements establishes that 80% of those resources, equivalent to RD $ 2,411,122,875.20, will be distributed equally among the political parties that obtained more than 5% of the valid votes cast in the last elections, at the presidential level.
While 12%, equivalent to RD $ 361,668,431.28 is distributed among all parties that have reached more than one percent and less than 5% of the valid votes cast in the last election, and 8% equivalent to RD $ 241,112,287.52 that will be distributed in equal parts among those who have reached between zero point zero one percent (0.01%) and one percent (1%) of the valid votes obtained in the last election, at the presidential level.
The political delegate to the JCE of Fuerza del Pueblo and member of the Directorate
Politics, Manuel Crespo, warned that the 2021 budget cannot contemplate the elimination or reduction of resources destined to strengthen democracy through the political party system.
Crespo understands that President Abinader is receiving bad advice, since the items assigned to political organizations will not resolve the lack of economic income and the budget deficit, since these items are not the cause of the budget deficit because they are insignificant.
Also the delegate of the PRSC, Tácito Perdomo, expressed that the political parties already have previous and stipulated commitments for the following year.
“It is not true that the great leaks of the country in economic matters are within the money that is given to political parties every year,” Perdomo exclaimed in an interview by telephone.
In favor of the measure
The ruling Modern Revolutionary Party (PRM), Alianza País, Dominicanos por el Cambio (DxC) and Movimiento Patria para Todos (MPT) have expressed themselves in favor of the measure.
The thin politician of the PRM and Minister of the Environment, Orlando Jorge Mera, expressed that he understands the decision of President Abinader and that it is a practical measure that would help against the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus outbreak (Covid-19).
The president of AlPaís, Guillermo Moreno, said that the organization is not opposed to reducing resources in this non-electoral year, as long as equity is maintained in their distribution and in accordance with the law.
While DxC, led by the president of the Senate Eduardo Estrella, supports the proposal, due to the need for all actors in national life to sacrifice for the common good in the face of the pandemic that the country and the world are suffering.
The Patria Para Todos Movement also considers that the government’s request to reduce the amount of financing to political parties is insufficient, and advocates a restructuring of the nation’s budget that eliminates other items that do not promote development.
Regarding the financing of political parties, he proposes that 100% be eliminated.
President Abninader announced in a speech to the country last Friday that he will propose to the National Congress to reduce 50% of the funds that state political parties receive, since 2021 is not an electoral year.
Since 1997, the parties have received annual funding from the State through Law 275-97. The main standard-bearer was the then leader of the Dominican Revolutionary Party (PRD), José Francisco Peña Gómez.