Local May 8, 2014 | 7:16 am

Dominican Republic politicks heats up two years to presidential polls

Santo Domingo.- Despite the two years since the May 2012 election and two away from the polls of 2016, the country’s political competition hasn’t ceased and the issue tops the public agenda, roiled by the split in Dominican Republic’s opposition party (PRD), the avalanche of hopefuls in the ruling party (PLD), the internal revamp of the three major organizations and civil society’s involvement.

The Central Electoral Board (JCE) claims a lack of jurisdiction to regulate politicking, arguing that doing so would violate several basic rights such as freedom of assembly and expression.

There’re no new faces in the political arena that could pose a challenge to former presidents Leonel Fernández and Hipolito Mejia, PRD president Miguel Vargas, former vice presidential candidate Luis Abinader and president Danilo Medina.

Despite Fernandez’s recent comments that a fourth bid “depends on how the winds blow” few doubt that he’s on the inside track to again obtain the PLD’s presidential candidacy

That fact has forced the opposition to point all its cannons at Fernandez, revealing their fear of the three-term president, and despite the latest Gallup survey released in September giving him 15% among the PLD’s candidates, far behind Medina, who cannot seek reelection.

Major party hopefuls

Among those who’ve thrown their hat in the political ring thus far figure Senate president Reinaldo Pared, Tourism minister Francisco Javier García, Economy minister Temistocles Montas and Radhames Segura, a member of its top echelon, the Political Committee.

In addition to Vargas, Mejia and Abinader, the PRD the hopefuls also include Guido Gomez Mazara and Geanilda Vazquez.

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