Dominicans residing in Puerto Rico were left today unable to participate in the general elections held in the Dominican Republic after they did not appear on the electoral roll, a situation that was cataloged by some of those affected as an “attack on democracy.”
“We want to remove the government… and since they know that they have to go, what they are is preparing a fraud and the people are throwing themselves into the streets because we are tired of them” said Julio Santana, a Dominican resident in the country in reference to the Dominican Liberation Party (PLD) that maintains control under the figure of President Danilo Medina.
He reported that when he arrived at his polling station this morning in The Roberto Clemente Coliseum in San Juan informed him that he did not appear registered and that the only option to exercise the right was to travel to his hometown of San Pedro de Macorís, where, he said, he has never voted.
“This is an abuse what they are doing, but they are leaving anyway. The people can't take it anymore, the people over there are lying on the street for there to be a change, "added Santana.
The main candidates in these elections are Luis Abinader of the Modern Revolutionary Party (PRM) and the favorite to prevail, according to the polls; the former president of the country Leonel Fernández, of the People's Force (FP); and the former Minister of Public Works, Gonzalo Castillo, of the PLD, a community that maintains control of the government under the figure of Medina, who after 12 years in office could not go after the re-election.
There are about 7.5 million Dominicans able to vote, almost half a million of these abroad. In Puerto Rico, there are 35,000 Dominicans who could exercise their right, but the expectation is that participation does not exceed 35%.
In the last elections, almost 12,000 Dominicans participated, out of some 27,000 who had registered then, for 40% of participation.
In the elections the vice president, 32 senators, 190 deputies and representatives before the Central American Parliament (Parlacen) will also be elected.
For Marlene Paulino, who lives in Puerto Rico 25 years ago, what happened today is "An attack on democracy". He said that he arrived early at the sports facility with five other family members. Only one appeared registered in the official list. “They tell you to go to your hometown to vote when I have been in Puerto Rico for 25 years and vote every four years. That, if you do not appear, you cannot vote or add by hand or anything. How one is going to leave and so there are thousands of people out there who have not been able to vote, "shared the woman.
The Dominican consul in Puerto Rico, Franklin Grullón, acknowledged that many of the people of Puebla were unable to vote. However, he attributed the situation to the fact that in the past elections a resolution was issued that allowed all residents to vote once they presented their ID even if their name did not appear on the official list or register of the persons recognized to issue suffrage. . "Those people understood that they were registered to vote … they were neglected, they did not go to the Central Electoral Board to register and today, since that resolution was not issued this time, they do not appear in the register," he explained.
He recognized that the situation It may have an impact on the level of participation on the island, but not on the results. "If 35% participate, we understand that it is a success by virtue of the situation that exists because there is much fear, we have many older voters who fear being infected and have stated that they do not want to come to vote," he said.
The process is going very well and participation has been flowing normally. We thought that with the issue of the pandemic there would be less participation. However, so far everything is normal and we hope it will continue until 5:00 in the afternoon when the process ends. There have been no incidents of any kind and the political parties are doing all their work so that their people come to vote, "said Grullón.
The official aspires to a position as an overseas deputy under the insignia of the government party, he expressed his confidence in his victory. "We are going to be sworn in on August 16 as a deputy from the Dominican Republic," he emphasized.
The journalist and producer of the Dominican Parade, Luis Aguasvivas, admitted that the Central Electoral Board failed to inform citizens that they should make a pre-registration of the ID on the island to vote. "Therefore, this has brought about a high percentage of people who cannot vote," he said.
He assured that the determination of the Dominican legislature so that the padrón was closed in these elections – contrary to past elections – ensures the transparency of processes. “It is a consensus legislation among all the parties because this year the elections had a different connotation. We are talking about a party in government for 20 years, which has known how to play politics and all parties have wanted it to be played clearly. For this reason, this helps democracy to become stronger, "he argued.