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The Challenges of Democratic Governance in the Dominican Republic

March 30, 2004 - 5:00 pm

Rosario Espinal, Temple University

Since 1978 the Dominican Republic has undergone a process of political democratization characterized by a fairly stable political party system, the growing strength of civil society organizations, and periods of significant economic growth. In the past two years, however, the Dominican Republic has witnessed a major economic downturn, turmoil in its political parties, and a limited capacity of civil society to enhance democratic rule in the midst of adverse economic and political conditions. What accounts for these changes? Can Dominican democracy be enhanced or sustained? What is the significance of the upcoming presidential elections for democratic politics?

Rosario Espinal has published extensively on Dominican politics and society. She is the author of the book Autoritarismo y Democracia en la Política Dominicana (1987, 1994), co-editor of the book La República Dominicana en el Umbral del Siglo XXI: Cultura, Política y Cambio Social (1999), and author of more than 50 articles published in academic journals and books in English, Spanish and French. She has been a fellow at the Swedish Institute for Social Research at the University of Stockholm, at the Kellogg Institute for International Studies at the University of Notre Dame, and at the Latin American Studies Center at Oxford University. She has been a Fulbright Fellow to Argentina, Peru and Brazil, and a member of the Executive Council of the Latin American Studies Association. She also contributes regularly to political debates in the Dominican Republic through the media.