The defense encompasses (2008) 50,000 men enlisted and is organized into seven brigades and 17 patrol boats. The Dominican Republic has no fighter aircraft. Semi-military security forces amount to 15,000 men. The material is of varying western origin. To see related acronyms about this country, please check ABBREVIATIONFINDER where you can see that DOM stands for Dominican Republic.
Defense spending decreased in 1996-2006 from 1.3% to 0.7% of GDP. Dominican Republic participates in UN peacekeeping operations in Ivory Coast (United Nations Operation in Ivory Coast, UNOCI).
During 1995, the drought affected the country’s electricity production. The electricity company criticized that 40% of the electricity consumed was not paid and that a quarter of the production was lost due to technical problems.
The targets set by the government for economic growth and control of inflation were now called into question as a result of the energy crisis. In March, the price of public transport was raised by 50%. It sparked violent protests and the government declared the increase illegal. Still, a new increase in June was approved. several protesters were subsequently killed in clashes with police.
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During 1995, opposition politicians were preparing for the first elections in decades, when there was a real chance of removing Balaguer, now 88 years old. However, an agreement between the PRSC and the PLD made it possible to postpone the elections until 16 May 1996.
In this election, PRD candidate José Francisco Peña Gómez received 48.75% of the vote, but did not achieve an absolute majority. The ruling party’s candidate, Jacinto Peinado did not get enough votes to advance to the second round of elections. Despite Gomez’s high turnout, it was Leonel Fernández Reyna of PLD who won the second election on June 30 – after forming an alliance with PRSC. On August 18, he was deployed as president and Joaquín Balaguer was able to retire after holding the presidential post for 7 periods.
The PRSC subsequently entered into an agreement with the PRD, giving the PRSC control over the Senate, while the PRD came to chair the Chamber of Deputies. The PLD was in the minority in both chambers, preventing the president from implementing the initiatives he had promised during the election campaign.
In 1997, disputes arose around the state budget. The controversial package included increases in indirect taxes, reduction of direct taxes, longer working days for government officials and reduced import duty rates.
Despite the lack of support in the two chambers, the president decided to implement two disputed measures that did not require parliamentary adoption: setting a single exchange rate for the country’s currency and rising oil prices. He also vetoed some changes the two chambers had made to the bill and, by decree, gave the public employees a pay rise.
Price rises, unemployment of more than 30% and 70% of the population plunged into poverty intensified social tensions. It came to repeated demonstrations, several of which ended violently. Despite these bad circumstances, the economy grew by 6.9% in the first half of the year.
In June, a new law opened for private companies to invest in state-owned enterprises – including sugar and electricity production. In this way, the government sought to raise funds to cover the government’s debt.