Dominica is a country located in the region of North America. The Social Democratic Labor Party has been in power since 2000 and won four parliamentary elections in a row, but the margin of opposition has decreased. High unemployment, crime and poverty are important political issues.
Since the 2005 elections, the Labor Party and the Middle Party United Workers Party have won all seats in Parliament. The Conservative Freedom Party, which ruled the country from 1980 to 1995, has fallen outside. The Labor Party has always been the largest and had a particularly large takeover after the 2009 election, when the United Workers Party only got 3 seats (against 18 seats for the Workers Party).
- Countryaah: Country facts and history of Dominica, including state flag, location map, demographics, GDP data, currency code, and business statistics.
In the December 2014 elections, however, the Labor Party went back and lost 3 seats to the United Workers’ Party, which made high unemployment a central issue in its campaign. The party that promised 5,000 new jobs within three years doubled its number of mandates from 3 to 6. In the capital Roseau, the United Workers’ Party won all the mandates that were at stake.
International election observers approved the election, while the opposition claimed a number of irregularities. After the election, Dominica was criticized in a report from the Commonwealth which noted, among other things, that there were no rules for financing election campaigns. The report also questioned that residents were flown in from abroad to vote. In 2017, the government sought to put an end to this practice through a bill that would have revoked the voting rights of those who lived outside Dominica for more than five years. However, the proposal had to be put on ice after vigorous protests by the opposition.
Compared to other countries in the Caribbean (Caribbean), Dominica is a relatively peaceful country but the murder rate is high internationally. Many murders occur in connection with the activities of the drug syndicate. Even tourists have been attacked. Parliament has responded by adopting new laws with stricter penalties for weapons crime. Measures have also been taken to modernize the fight against drug traffickers using Dominica as a transit country for drug trafficking to neighboring islands such as Guadeloupe and Antigua and Barbuda. The United States has helped establish a special police unit within the police. It also fights domestic cultivation of marijuana.
With international support, the government has directed special measures to the most disadvantaged residents, but the proportion of poor has remained large. After the 2014 election, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit promised that poverty would be reduced from up to 30 percent of the population to 10 percent by 2020.
A tough political issue concerns the country’s airport which is too small to receive international traffic which is hampering the tourism industry. The government was able to note a slight success in 2010 when the existing airport was opened for night traffic.
When it comes to corruption, Dominica gets a relatively good rating from the organization Transparency international, which annually compiles a list of the level of corruption in the countries of the world. Dominica usually ranks around 40, in the company of countries such as Spain and the Czech Republic, and the country usually places itself better than neighboring countries.
Devastation after hurricanes
In August 2015, Dominica was hit by tropical storm Erika, which caused enormous havoc and claimed 30 casualties. According to Prime Minister Skerrit, the damage after the storm was so extensive that it was as if the country had been set 20 years back in time. Reconstruction work hardened the country’s resources. In the fall of 2016, the opposition tried to get Parliament to set aside Skerrit for neglect of the economy, but the campaign failed.
Even more major damage was caused by Hurricane Maria in September 2017. Dominica was right in the path of the hurricane and over 30 people lost their lives as it dragged across the island. 90 percent of all buildings on the island suffered damage, half of which were serious. A large proportion of the residents were left without food, water and roof over their heads. The outside world assisted with emergency assistance for the laborious reconstruction work, and Skerrit created a special department for environmental and climate issues with the task of planning how future challenges of the same kind will be met.
FACTS – POLITICS
Commonwealth of Dominica / Commonwealth Dominica
republic, unitary state
Head of State
President Charles Savarin (2013-)
Head of government
Roosevelt Skerrit (2004-)
Most important parties with mandates in the last election
Workers ‘Party 15, United Workers’ Party 6 (2014)
Main parties with mandates in the second most recent elections
Workers ‘Party 18, United Workers’ Party 3 (2009)
56% in the 2014 parliamentary elections
parliamentary elections will be held by 2019