Local February 29, 2016 | 4:58 pm

Dominican think tank slams Senate slush fund as unfair competition

Santo Domingo.- The Institutionalism and Justice Foundation(Finjus) on Monday hailed the Central Electoral Board’s (JCE) decision toimmediately suspend the disbursement of the slush fund known as the barrilito (littlebarrel) for the Senators, calling it valid.

The think tank also noted that the JCE’s actions are attributesstipulated by the Constitution, “ensuring and to ensure that the electoralprocesses are carried out subject to the principles of freedom, equality andtransparency in the use of economic resources.”

It said the fund, official known as the Social Management ofthe National Congress "constitute a distortion of the very primordialfunctions of the legislator, which is to legislate, supervisory andrepresentative. Although sometimes it is to justify the use of these publicfunds in the representative function, the essence of this function is tolegislate and oversee on behalf of the people."

"Under the current complex electoral process, theSenators have the barrilito as an unfair competition in relation to othercandidates who don’t have access to similar funds. This calls into question thefairness in elections and, according to the views raised by experts andanalysts, it’s an irritating privilege of clientelistic practices thatcontradict the ideal of democracy,” Finjus said in a statement.

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