Parties raise voice of alert for proposal cut 50% of funds
President Luis Abinader’s proposal to ask Congress to cut 50% of the funds received by political parties is a financial blow to these organizations, which base their main activities on the resources they receive each year from the State, first established in Electoral Law number 275-97, and later in Law 33-18, on Political Parties, Groups, and Movements.
The opposition organizations Fuerza del Pueblo and Partido Reformista Social Cristiano (PRSC) came out in front of President Abinader’s proposal, demanding respect for the laws. At the same time, the Partido de la Liberación Dominicana (PLD) announced that it would establish its position on the issue in the middle of this week.
The State’s economic contribution 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 which 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 these resources, equivalent to RD$2,411,122,875.20, will be distributed in equal parts among the political parties that obtained more than 5% of the valid votes cast in the last elections, at the presidential level.
12%, equivalent to RD$361,668,431, will be distributed among all the parties that obtained 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, will be distributed in equal parts among those that obtained between zero point zero one percent (0.01 %) and one percent (1 %) of the valid votes cast in the last election, at the presidential level.
The political delegate to the JCE de Fuerza del Pueblo and member of the Directorate
Politician Manuel Crespo warned that the 2021 budget could not contemplate eliminating or reducing resources destined to strengthen democracy through the political party system.
Crespo understands that President Abinader is receiving lousy advice since the items assigned to political organizations will not solve the lack of economic income and the budget deficit. These items are not the cause of the budget deficit because they are insignificant.
Also, the delegate of the PRSC, Tacitus 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 given to the political parties each year,” Perdomo exclaimed in a telephone interview.
In favor of the measure
The ruling Modern Revolutionary Party (PRM), Alianza País, Dominicans for Change (DxC), and Movimiento Patria para Todos (MPT) have expressed themselves in favor of the measure.
The slim PRM politician and Minister of the Environment, Orlando Jorge Mera, expressed that he understands President Abinader’s decision and that it is a practical measure that would help against the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus outbreak (Covid-19).
The president of Al País, Guillermo Moreno, said that the organization is not opposed to reducing resources in this non-electoral year. They are distributed legally and following the law.
While DxC, which is led by Senate President Eduardo Estrella, supports the proposal because of 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 is suffering.
Also, the Movimiento Patria Para Todos considers that the government’s request to reduce the amount of financing to the political parties is insufficient and advocates a restructuring of the nation’s budget that eliminates other items that do not promote development.
As for the financing of political parties, it proposes the elimination of 100%.
President Abninader announced in a speech to the country last Friday that he will propose to the National Congress to reduce 50% of the State’s political parties’ funds since 2021 is not an electoral year.
Since 1997 the parties receive the annual financing from the State through Law 275-97. The prominent standard-bearer was the then leader of the Dominican Revolutionary Party (PRD), José Francisco Peña Gómez.