Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. – If Gonzalo Castillo wins, Danilo Medina would reaffirm his leadership; if you lose, it would be very limited, even if you control the PLD
President Danilo Medina has decided to risk everything at the current juncture, apparently driven by the determination to prevent the triumph of Leonel Fernández, who is seeking the presidential nomination by the Dominican Liberation Party (Partido de la Liberación Dominicana) (PLD).
In that perspective, it is not an exaggeration to affirm that President Medina risks everything by running his luck with Gonzalo Castillo, definitely the chosen one.
For many it is not easy to unravel the true motives of that decision, because he could have agreed to an agreement with the one that becomes his main adversary, Fernández. When, on the initiative of Reinaldo Pared Pérez, a chapter was opened in that direction, and in the face of what seemed like a compromise of Fernández, President Medina told him that he was not ready to sit down and talk with the former president.
The rest is history. The dynamic came to show that President Medina was no stranger to the efforts to modify the Constitution of the Republic that would have allowed him to be re-elected. As that route was definitely closed, then he actively encouraged several of his partials to persist in the campaign for the presidential candidacy, and when they did not “mark” in the polls, the “uncover” took place: Gonzalo Castillo, resigning minister of Public Works.
The appearance of the former minister in front of the others in the Medina group generated resentment, and in a short time he found the opposition of two traditional partials of the President, who withdrew under the allegation that Gonzalo competed with advantage because he used the resources of the State. Carlos Amarante Baret, the former principal critic of Fernández and promoter of Medina, denounced that the paving program of streets and roads was used by Gonzalo as a pressure mechanism to attract adherents, especially the municipal mayors.
In the end, Gonzalo has been the pre-candidate of Medina and now of the majority of the members of the PLD political committee. With that proposal, the President has decided to play them all. He closed the doors to an understanding with Fernández, generated resentment in his own group and now marches towards the primaries with Gonzalo hand in hand.
What does Medina earn?
If Gonzalo wins the primaries, he would have achieved the defeat of the adversary Fernández. He would also reaffirm his leadership, because the leadership in the party currently retains it with a full majority. It would reach an important retaliation after the constitutional reform project was defeated with Fernández’s initiative, the intervention of foreign agents to the PLD, as civil society entities, the opposition led at the time by Luis Abinader and the United States.
What could I lose?
While he makes a profit with the triumph of his favorite, which would represent a resounding defeat of the adversary, Medina has seriously put his leadership at risk.
With a defeat in the primaries with the triumph of Fernandez, the President would receive the second fall in a dramatic way, after the failure of the attempt of the constitutional reform.
That defeat would impact his leadership in the PLD. It would be very limited, even if it continues to control the internal control devices. His authority as a leader would be weighed down by the adverse outcomes of the primary.
And that loss would not only impact the PLD. He would also be very weakened as president of the Republic, with more limitations to promote a new reform of the Constitution in the search for his rehabilitation.
The most dramatic thing is that he would be losing all that without precisely becoming the main protagonist, but acting as a support for a pre-candidacy of his group.
Even worse. With Fernández candidate, from the point of view of the party, Medina would be formally obliged to support him. On the contrary, that his partials “feel” or directly favor the defeat in the face of the opposition, would be charged with a share of responsibility for the loss of the power of the PLD.
The Gonzalo play
What is clear from this process is that Gonzalo Castillo has been the great winner, and nothing can modify it, no matter what the results of the primary. He took all the danilista candidates to meet and rises as the political heir of the President.
Only having been anointed by Medina and the majority of the political committee, the resigning minister is already winning. The promotion that drives it has allowed his figure to run on social networks and electronic and traditional media.
If he wins the candidacy of the PLD, he would have obtained the most brilliant success, enough to place himself as a fundamental figure in that group. He would enter a major league competition without apparently having proposed it.
Until a few days ago, Minister Gonzalo Castillo was seen as an effective man in the performance of his duties, who courageously promoted the re-election of President Medina. A better bearer than any other of the President’s message.
Becoming a candidate, Gonzalo offers himself as “new blood”, in line with the speech of President Medina, who on the night he announced that he would not favor the constitutional reform to re-elect, advocated the need to renew leadership.
He is a 21st century peledeist, who registered in the National District, in the Intermediate Committee April 24, as chairman of the Base Committee number thirteen. He joined the Central Committee of the PLD in 2005, as part of Medina’s quota, and by his hand, he joined the Political Committee in 2014.
As you can see, without considering that the October 6 votes are favorable or unfavorable, Gonzalo Castillo is already winning. He is the big winner of the process that lives the purple party.
Now, what is to the test is whether the strength of Medina, supported by the strength of the majority of the members of the political committee, the central committee, the party control structures, the majority of senators, deputies, mayors and Heads of municipal districts, and, as if that were not enough, of the powers of the Executive Power, can materialize the triumph of a winner who has become the star of the political process, in just the blink of an eye.
If this did not happen, Medina would have lost everything, and Leonel, despite the obstacles, would rise as the man to beat in 2020. But first, he would have to adjust the pace of the campaign and resize the adversaries ahead. And do not forget a key line, which was the involvement of the general population to prevent constitutional reform: it will be the Dominicans who will decide the contest, and motivate and mobilize them intelligently is a fundamental task to achieve their purposes.