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Daily News - 12 July 1999

Electoral judges to meet with President Fernández
President Leonel Fernández will receive judges of the Junta Central Electoral today at the National Palace. The JCE is seeking an additional RD$92 million from the government. The government had conditioned the disbursement of the additional funds to the recommendations made by CAPEL, an organization that does this kind of work in Latin America with the endorsement of the Organization of American States. When the initial results were out, the JCE discredited these by denouncing that one of the CDs containing data had been tampered with. The CAPEL audit looked into procedures around the issuing of voting and identification cards. The audit found that management problems and disorganization at the JCE was one of the main causes of the delays in the process of providing new voting cards to four million Dominicans. The process has been affected by technical difficulties caused by deficiencies in the service provided by Datocentro, the company that won the bid to issue the new voting cards.
Political analyst Orlando Gil, of El Siglo newspaper, speculates that insiders within the JCE could have done the tampering in order to tarnish the audit and discredit its results that did not favor work carried out so far by the board of the JCE. "Only that way can one explain the lack of interest of the electoral court in establishing what happened with the CD," he says.
The leading political parties recently announced their support to the JCE process of issuing voting cards. The political parties have committed to motivate their followers to sign up for the new cards. The JCE needs to get about three millions to renew their cards by the end of this year.

Peynado is against PLD-PRSC alliance
Former Vice President Jacinto Peynado, the strongest candidate of the Partido Reformista Social Cristiano in the unlikely event that former President Joaquín Balaguer would decide not to run for President, opposes a new PLD-PRSC alliance. Jacinto Peynado was the PRSC’s presidential candidate in the 1996 election. But he didn’t have a chance when the party’s leader, Balaguer recommended that his personal supporters vote for Partido de la Liberación Dominicana presidential candidate, today President Leonel Fernández. The PLD presidential candidate, Danilo Medina, who was the key negotiator of that PLD-PRSC alliance, hopes for a repeat, now in favor of his own candidacy.
Peynado campaigned over the weekend in Santo Domingo. The activity marked the start of the PRSC presidential campaign, despite Balaguer not having formally announced that he will run. Balaguer is being relaunched as a politician with a rejuvenated image, despite he will be 93 this September.
Balaguer has said he needs time to decide whether he will run for the PRSC or not. He has said it will all depend on his health.
"We firmly believe we have to respect the request of doctor Balaguer, but that should not be used as an excuse to cross our arms and do nothing and that way be disqualified. The PRSC cannot afford the luxury of letting its followers despair and seek another alternative," he said. He denounced that in the PRSC there are many groups that favor a new alliance with the PLD. El Nacional newspaper carried a recent headline announcing the possibility of a Balaguer-Medina ticket. Danilo Medina is the PLD’s presidential candidate.
In his campaigning, Jacinto Peynado criticized the government for doing little to avoid a decline in national exports, the abandoning of farming, increase in electricity billings, increase in the cost of living, fall in tourism, and strikes of the public hospital physicians and nurses.

8% more cars in DR this year
Eight percent more cars are in circulation this year than last year. Stats show that as of June of 1998, 1,226,642 cars were in circulation. As of June 1999, there were 1,334,109 in circulation. Private cars in circulation went from 331,292 in 1998 to 359,900 in 1999. In 1998, there were 635,973 motorcycles in circulation. In 1999, there are 689,959. The Dirección General de Impuestos Internos has announced most vehicles will need to renew their permission to circulate by the end of this month.

Falconbridge to pay RD$240 million in taxes
Listin Diario reports that Falconbridge Dominicana will pay RD$240 million this year in taxes on profits for ferronickel exports. The company expects US$15 million in profits this year, said Falconbridge president Enrique Lithgow. He said the final amount will depend on world market prices.

Fixing up the lovely houses of Bayahibe
Minister of Tourism Felix Jiménez said a US$25,000 contribution by Viaggi del Ventaglio, a leading Italian tour operator, will make possible the repair of typical homes of dwellers in the Bayahibe village in La Romana. The lovely wooden houses were damaged by the high winds of Hurricane Georges last year. Viaggi del Ventaglio is the leading tour operator that brings Italian tourists to the Hotel Ventaclub Gran Dominicus in Bayahibe area. The wooden houses were so postcard perfect that they were featured on the front cover of the 1998-1999 Hotel & Restaurant Association Vacation Planner.

Ileana Rodríguez is at Drugs Bureau, not the Police
The spokesman for the National Police explained that Ileana Rodríguez Alemar is in detention at the National Drug Control Department (DNCD) and not at the Police as her relatives denounced. She is being investigated after 51 kilos of cocaine were found in the home of her half brother, Marcos Vinicio Martínez Alemar, whose whereabouts are unknown. Ileana Rodríguez Alemar went to the Police after escaping from four kidnappers who sequestered her from the front of her home. At the house where she was kept in Haina, the Police found a piece of paper whereby the motive for her kidnapping was supposedly to collect a debt owed by her half brother to an individual in New York City. This led the Police to suspect drug trafficking, and the house of her half brother was searched.

Chilean wins candidacy to the beat of merengue
Chilean politician wins to the beat of merengue. A leading Chilean politician won the right to run for President of Chile to the beat of Dominican merengue. The Listín Diario reported that pre-candidate Ricardo Lagos, representing the Partido Radical, Partido Socialista, Partido Democrata Chileno and Unidad Popular, chose Dominican musician to arrange the music for his campaign. Taveras explains that this demonstrates how tropical music is catching on in Latin America. Dominican music is increasingly being used to produce political spots and advertisement jingles.

Indiana Pacer Mark Jackson could play for DR
Mark Jackson, of the Indiana Pacers, could join the Dominican national basketball team that will play in the Pre-Olympic Trials to be held in San Juan, Puerto Rico starting 14 July. The NBA player would join Luis Felipe López, who plays with the NBA’s Vancouver Grizzlies. Jackson qualifies to wear the Dominican uniform because his mother was born in Puerto Plata.

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