In view of the activism shown in recent days by aspirants to elective positions for 2024, the Central Electoral Board (JCE) ordered the immediate cessation of proselytizing activities under the warning that they are liable to sanctions and rejection of their nomination.
Through a press release, the electoral body specified that laws 33-18 of Parties, Groupings and Political Movements and 15-19, Organic of Electoral Regime, have well defined the pre-campaign and campaign periods, which have not yet begun. The pre-campaign starts on the first Sunday of the month of July 2023 and will conclude with the selection of the candidates to give way to the campaign which entails a proclamation by the JCE.
Consequently, it establishes that they may be liable to administrative sanctions of one to 200 minimum salaries and that their candidacies may be declared inadmissible.
“The Central Electoral Board is the highest authority in matters of administration and organization of electoral processes in the Dominican Republic and, as such, must guarantee that they are carried out in strict adherence to the provisions of the law, thereby guaranteeing the peace and tranquility of the Dominican people,” refers the JCE communiqué.
It also informed that proselytizing activities such as the celebration of multitudinous events such as rallies, marches, caravans and the dissemination of electoral propaganda, placement of billboards, posters, banners, in public spaces and places are prohibited.
In addition, the promotion of candidates through the media such as radio, television, social networks and any other means or channel through which information on campaign activities may be transmitted to the population; “without detriment to the right of political organizations to carry out the usual internal activities that are proper to them, according to their statutes and the principle of party self-regulation”.
The past JCE established in the regulation for the application of Law 33-18 on the Primaries, dictated in 2019, that the pre-campaign preview would begin one year before the pre-campaign, which applied now would be in 2022.
The JCE regulation comes at a time when they have announced their presidential aspirations for the opposition Dominican Liberation Party (PLD), Francisco Dominguez Brito, Abel Martinez, Margarita Cedeno, Carlos Amarante Baret, among others. In addition, Leonel Fernández, president of Fuerza del Pueblo, has not stopped political activities although he has not announced his candidacy, and in some municipalities, promotions of mayoral aspirants for various parties have begun.
For Domínguez Brito, compliance with the law is fundamental, both for the JCE, as well as for the political parties and their members. “The law clearly establishes which activities are prohibited in a pre-campaign. I do not carry out activities in streets or highways, much less in public places, but everything we do has constitutional rights, for being carried out in closed spaces”, he commented.
In this sense, Danilo Diaz, secretary of electoral affairs of the PLD, understands that the enemies are beginning to feel fears due to the reception that the three PLD candidates have had among the people.
In an official communiqué, the PLD rejected that some of its leaders are carrying out proselytizing campaigns. Héctor Olivo, in charge of Communications of the PLD, assured that “these comrades” are carrying out, as well as the party, internal activities.
The reformist senator, Rogelio Genao, affirmed that this organization considers the decision of the JCE correct and opportune and believes that it is counterproductive to carry out electoral proselytism at this point in time.
In view of the JCE’s warning, the Fuerza del Pueblo party informed that it had communicated in writing to the electoral body, since May of this year, that as a recently created organization it is organizing meetings and gatherings throughout the national geography and abroad.
Articles referred to by the JCE
“The aspirants who initiate their campaign before the official campaign or pre-campaign time shall be sanctioned with the inadmissibility of the candidacy. The Central Electoral Board will be responsible for enforcing this provision”, article 78 numeral 8 of Law 33-18. Law 15-19, Organic Law of Electoral Regime, in its article 280 numeral 4 and 16 establishes that an administrative sanction of one to 200 minimum salaries will be applied for untimely promotions.