Just a few impressions from Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic.

The Dominican Republic is a representative democracy with a presidential system much like the one in the US. The President is elected by popular vote in elections held every four years, always on 16 May. The latest elections took place two days ago and the main candidates running for office were the incumbent Leonel Fernandez Reyna (Dominican Liberation Party/ Partido de la Liberaci├│n Dominicana; the “violet party”), Miguel Vargas Maldonado (Dominican Revolutionary Party (PRD) / Partido Revolucionario Dominicano; the “white party”) and Amable Aristy Castro (Social Christian Reformist Party (PRSC) / Partido Reformista Social Cristiano; the “red party”). (See more at the end of this post.)

I was lucky enough to have spent some time in this beautiful country of breathtaking nature, great music and cheerful people who let me bug them about their views of politics and the presidential candidates. Here are a few photos that may not be as sexy as the palm-adorned sandy beaches or perfectly cut grass of spectacular golf fields to most, but I needed some contact with real life.

One thing is certain, though… the people of Santo Domingo know how to parteeeeeeee!

Santo Domingo

Not everyone can afford a home, but none of the homeless freeze to death. Or die of hunger, I was told.

Santo Domingo

The less-frequently visited hoods of the city.

Santo Domingo

What gives?

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Santo Domingo

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One of the most famous streets of Santo Domingo: Calle Las Damas.

Santo Domingo

The Prez’s ride and escort in front of the Presidential Palace.

Two days ago, the incumbent Leonel Fernandez won the elections in the first round, securing about 53% of the vote. During both his previous terms, the country has done well and much progress has been made. Watching this lawyer on TV, I was impressed with the way he addressed complex legal and political issues in such a colourful and simple manner, that even I with my poor command of Spanish could follow his line of reasoning. For example, he debated the various types of judicial systems with regard to the role of the Constitutional or Supreme court and went as far as to explain his view of regional autonomy on the case of Kosovo.

Santo Domingo

For the sake of Jose Miguel and his friends I hope the old new President keeps the country on track to the prosperity that the entire island (yes, the entire island) and its people deserve.

Oooook so here comes one of the more typical Dominican photos just for you, my friends:

Punta Espada
Punta Espada, a signature golf course of Jack Nicklaus at Cap Cana, where the first PGA tournament (Champions Tour) in the Dominican Republic took place in April 2008.