AMERICA/DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - Amendment of the Constitution: concern and fears of an "imbalance of democratic stability"

Monday, 15 July 2019 elections   politics   social situation   bishops  


Santo Domingo (Agenzia Fides) - The auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Santo Domingo, Mgr. Jesus Castro Marte, has warned that an "imbalance of democratic stability" could occur in the country following the political clashes between the government and members of the Dominican Liberation Party (PLD), which opposes a constitutional amendment to allow the re-election of current president Danilo Medina.
"If the clashes and public controversies continue, even with the threat of violence, there could be an imbalance in the democratic stability of the country, with serious consequences for peace and social tranquility", said Mgr. Jesus Castro Marte Presule in a program on Catholic television Televida.
Faced with questions from journalists and representatives of the various sectors of national life, Mgr. Castro Marte declared that the Catholic Church is ready to mediate in the conflict that has arisen around the possibility of modifying the Constitution only to allow President Medina to run for the third time in the 2020 elections. "We ask political leaders to have common sense and respect for the law", said the Auxiliary Bishop, who is also rector of the Catholic University of Santo Domingo (UCSD).
Mgr. Castro Marte said that parties play a key role in the democratic development of our society, but "if they lose the ideological horizons that identify them, then they distort their essence before the people they seek to represent". He then stated that for political parties and society it is time to say "Enough!" to conflicts, divisions and confrontations for particular interests, instead we must nurture sincerity, truth and harmony. He finally asked political party leaders to focus on the country and the needs of the people, staying away from the dark realities that harm the democratic process.
In the note sent to Fides, it is reported that through the radio stations of the Archdiocese of Santo Domingo and TV channel Televida, the Church has appealed for prudence and understanding to the political class, and has asked Catholics to pray so that tranquility and peace remain in the nation. Mgr. Castro Marte concluded by saying that in the Dominican population there is concern and anxiety, along with the fear that the situation will become violent due to disputes and public clashes between political class leaders.
In these days the population will have to decide whether to take to the streets with the opposition against the proposal to change the constitution or wait for the declarations of the current President who has promised to express himself on the matter. However, the tension is also high due to the statements by the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, regarding this proposal to change the constitution, which is always a risk for democracy. One group of Dominican politicians responded by saying that it is a political affair within the country and they do not accept any external interference in this regard, the other states that it sees no interference in these statements. (CE) (Agenzia Fides, 15/07/2019)