Decentralization and Party Politics in the Dominican Republic

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2013-11-22
  • Publisher: Palgrave Pivot
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Why would a famously centralized Latin American state begin to re-distribute political power to cities and towns? In the Dominican Republic in the years between 1994 and 2008, a pro-municipal social alliance pressed for decentralization and politicians yielded, seeking power in three-party competition. Reformers utilized the central dynamics of a patrimonial system in order to reform it as rival parties and factions formed a series of shifting temporary alliances on municipal issues. Based on contemporary files and more than 60 interviews with participants, this study examines how electoral, financial, and administrative power has been dispersed. Non-concurrent local elections made municipal political leaders more autonomous; new laws multiplied central revenue-sharing twelve-fold; the centralist Ministry of Municipalities was greatly weakened; and participatory budgeting became mandatory nation-wide. The analysis also documents the continuing power of centralist political forces and suggests innovative strategies to maintain decentralizing momentum.

Author Biography

Christopher Mitchell is Professor Emeritus of Politics at New York University, USA, where he directed NYU's Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies. He was an official observer for the Dominican elections of 1994, 1996, and 2000.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Measures and Initiatives Favoring Decentralization, 1994-2008
3. The Deep Roots and Local Consequences of Dominican Centralism
4. A Decentralizing Coalition Finds Political Leverage
5. Party Alliances, the Municipios, and Decentralization
6. Dominican Decentralization Moves towards Maturity, 1996-2013
7. Pushback against Decentralization, and its Links with Influence over Nominations
8. Assessing Alternative Explanations of Dominican Decentralization
9. Pro-decentralization Strategies for the Future

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