Support for democracy has declined in the Dominican Republic in the last three years
Santo Domingo.- According to the 2023 Latinobarómetro report, the Dominican Republic has experienced a concerning decline in support for democracy over the past three years. The report reveals an increase in authoritarianism and indifference towards the type of regime, indicating a shift away from democratic consolidation. Between 2020 and 2023, authoritarianism has risen by eight percentage points, from 13% to 21%, while support for democracy has slightly decreased by two percentage points, from 50% to 48%. Additionally, indifference towards the regime type has increased by two percentage points, from 25% to 27%.
Latinobarómetro underscores that the country is moving in the opposite direction of democratic consolidation, as all three indicators have shown negative drops. The rising inclination towards authoritarianism and indifference are counteracting support for democracy. However, the report clarifies that the situation is not as critical as in some other countries analyzed. Nevertheless, the Dominican Republic is showing signs of a democracy that is prone to populism and autocracy, as perceived by the public.
The report also highlights that historically, Latin America has not had democracies installed in all countries simultaneously during the “third wave” of democracy. At least one country has always had an installed dictatorship, from figures like Fujimori to Chávez. The current democratic recession refers to the decline and vulnerability that several countries in the region have faced after a decade of continuous and systematic deterioration of democratic values. Out of the 18 countries in Latin America, only 16 are considered democratic today.
One notable finding in the report is that Dominicans seem to be open to the idea of an undemocratic government coming to power if it can effectively address their problems. This sentiment was evident when respondents answered a question about granting power to a government that operates beyond the confines of the law, though not necessarily military, suggesting a clear populist-authoritarian attitude.
This growing inclination towards authoritarianism and populism indicates that citizens are increasingly seeking solutions to their problems and may be willing to support alternative approaches to governance. It calls for a careful examination of the underlying issues driving these attitudes and highlights the importance of addressing citizen concerns to strengthen democratic values in the country.