Officially: República Dominicana.
English: Dominican Republic.
Seat of government: Santo Domingo.
Status: Democratic.
Structure: The president is elected directly. The legislature (Congreso) comprises the Cámara de Diputados, elected in multi-member geographical constituencies by party-list proportional representation, and the Senado, elected in the provinces with one member each.
Governing party: Partido de la Liberación Dominicana.
Head of government: Danilo Medina Sánchez, PLD, president.
Chief opposition parties: Partido Revolucionario Dominicano; Partido Revolucionario Moderno.
Recent history: Dictator Rafael Trujillo Molina ruled from 1930 to 1961, and was responsible for tens of thousands of deaths. The dominant figure of the following decades was Joaquín Balaguer Ricardo, a member of Trujillo’s régime and officially the president at the time of Trujillo’s assassination. He held the presidency twice more (1966-78, 1986-96) and ran in nearly every election. He was essentially forced from office after the fraudulent 1994 election; his successor, Leonel Fernández of the PLD, first served from 1996 to 2000, beginning the present period of full democracy. In 2000 the law prohibited consecutive terms, and the opposition again won — Hipólito Mejía of the PRD. When the law was changed back to allow consecutive terms, Fernández defeated the PRD in 2004 (over Mejía) and 2008 (over Miguel Vargas Maldonado). In 2010, the PLD won a renewed majority in the Congreso; this Congreso had an extended, six-year term to bring the presidential and congressional cycles back into alignment. Medina defeated Mejía in 2012. Both the PLD and PRD are technically distinct from their electoral alliances with minor parties, but practically identical. The party of Balaguer, the Partido Reformista Social Cristiano, was recently a significant party and ally of the PRD, but is approaching irrelevance. In 2014, nearly half of PRD deputies left the party to form the PRM.
FH: 2-2, free. Econ: 6.20 (73), flawed democracy.
Updated: 2015 May 3.