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Despite historical tensions between the Dominican Republic and Haiti, Dominicans appear to have put aside their resentment in favor of supporting Haitians after the earthquake that devastated the neighbor nation in January 2010. Over the past several months, there has been unprecedented cooperation between the Dominican Republic and Haiti, with little evidence of a negative impact on domestic politics in the Dominican Republic. In fact, the high ratings of President Leonel Fernández and the results of the May Parliamentary elections may suggest that how the Fernández administration handled the Haitian crisis did not have a negative impact on citizens’ perception. However, the issue of Haitian immigration remains very sensitive in the Dominican Republic, and has the potential to become the major concern on the domestic political front. As of June 2010, the Haitian crisis seemed to have little or no impact on Dominican politics, as the following points indicate:
- The May 16, 2010 Parliamentary elections increased President Fernández political party to 31 out of 32 Senate seats, and 105 out of 183 Chamber of Deputies seats; this is a total increase of 18 seats from the previous term.
- Polls indicate that President Fernández has a 54 percent approval rating.
- Polls also indicate that Haiti is not among the most pressing issues of concern to Dominican citizens. Instead, 65 percent of the population identifies drug trafficking and corruption as the greatest concerns.
- The immigration debate will remain the major consideration in domestic politics in the Dominican Republic; 62.4 percent of Dominicans polled think that the military should be strengthened along the DR-Haitian border.
Fonseca, Senior Security and Political Analyst, Brian, "Domestic Politics in the Dominican Republic after the Earthquake in Haiti" (2010). Western Hemisphere Security Analysis Center. 52.
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