Local December 8, 2015 | 11:03 am

Dominican Republic bids adieu to a year of crises, buoyed economy; EFE

Santo Domingo.- DominicanRepublic bids 2015 farewell with a constitutional reform that allows consecutivepresidential reelection, an immigration and trade crisis with Haiti, allegationsof rampant corruption in government and the Judiciary, but tempered with athriving economy, EFE reports.

Although it was mid Junewhen Congress amended the constitution to reintroduce presidential reelection,the decision was taken in April when the ruling party (PLD) so decided

The possibility ofreelection reaffirmed president Danilo Medina´s leadership within the PLD, andsidelined former president Leonel Fernandez, who had opposed the amendment alongwith his supporters.

Medina’s reelection machinehas ramped up its campaign with ribbon-cutting for schools, public housing, aboost in tourism, as many as 400,000 jobs and his flagship: the Sunday surprisevisits to rural areas during the last few months.

Nonetheless the yearwas also marred by deteriorated ties with Haiti, a country whose fledglinginstitutions are blamed for its rollercoaster policies in key areas such asmigration and the economy, the two major sources of friction between the Hispaniolaneighbors.

Dominican Republic´s immigrationcrisis with Haiti came after the deadline for the program known as the regularizationplan expired this year, which even cost Daniel Supplice his post as Port-au-Prince´senvoy, for allegedly failing to defend his compatriots.

The regularization planregistered more than 288,000 immigrants, mostly Haitians.

Haiti´s government has criticizedthe Dominican Plan, calling it a move toward statelessness in internationalforums, alleging that many of the deported were born on Dominican soil.

But the 2015 crisis inHaiti has also moved to the commercial field.

Haiti has also bannedoverland imports of 23 Dominican products, unleashing often violent protests onboth sides of the border and a decline in income for Dominican producers, sinceHaiti is its second biggest trading partner, surpassed only by the US.

But the final weeks of2015 has been a maelstrom for Dominican justice with six judges suspended thusfar in the “bribes for rulings” scandal, prompting calls for Supreme Courtchief justice Mariano German to step down, after he admitted to taking part in tryingto return an alleged bribe.

“Many Dominicans hope theconfession uncovers a can of worms to implement a complete overhaul of the DominicanJudiciary, EFE reports.

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