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Dominican Republic

 
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Dominican Republic

THE ROLE OF THE MILITARY IN PUBLIC LIFE

The 1966 Constitution describes the armed forces as "essentially obedient and nonpolitical and without the right to deliberate. The purpose of their creation is to defend the independence and integrity of the republic, to maintain public order, and to uphold the Constitution and the laws." By law, members of the armed forces are denied the right to vote and the right to participate in the activities of political parties and organized labor.

Although by 1989 the political influence of the armed forces had declined relative to the early 1960s, the characterization of the military as a nonpolitical body was still an ideal rather than a reality (see Dominican Republic - Interest Groups , ch. 4). The armed forces continued to be an organized force available for use against a regime's opposition, and military personnel and equipment were employed overtly to support candidates favored by the armed forces. Individual officers also competed for national political and economic power and privilege.

The practice of appointing military officers to positions in the civil administration had lessened somewhat by 1989, although, as was traditional, military officers continued to hold a significant number of government positions, serving either while in uniform or after temporary or permanent retirement. The appointment of military personnel to civilian positions occurred in part because officers possessed proven managerial and administrative skills that were frequently in short supply. The practice also provided a source of largess that gave powerful officers a stake in the current regime and a reward for loyalty to it. Many officers in such positions achieved levels of wealth not attainable in the purely military sphere.

Data as of December 1989


Dominican Republic - TABLE OF CONTENTS


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