Meaning of FERNNDEZ REYNA, LEONEL in English

born Dec. 26, 1953, Santo Domingo, Dom. Rep. in full Leonel Antonio Fernndez Reyna politician who, in his first try for public office, was elected president of the Dominican Republic in 1996. Fernndez lived in New York City beginning in 1962 and attended schools there. He returned to the Dominican Republic in 1971 and in 1978 graduated from the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo with honours in law. He worked as a teacher and journalist and also practiced law before entering politics. The candidate of the Dominican Liberation Party (PLD), he lost the first round of the elections to the mayor of Santo Domingo, Jos Francisco Pea Gmez, of the Dominican Revolutionary Party. After forming an alliance with the ruling Social Christian Reformist Party, however, he won the second round, held on June 30, 1996, by a narrow margin. In what was a racially charged campaign, he had the support of both outgoing President Joaqun Balaguer and of Juan Bosch, founder of the PLD. The two put aside their differences to ensure that Fernndez, who was of mixed race, would defeat Pea, who was of Haitian descent. At age 42, Fernndez was the youngest person ever elected to the office. Fernndez vowed to end political corruption, and toward this end one of his first acts as president was to increase the salaries of elected officials, including his own. He maintained that public employees would be less inclined to accept bribes if they were properly paid. He also planned closer oversight of the judiciary, police, and military, and he promised greater scrutiny of state-owned firms and reforms to strengthen manufacturing and agriculture. In 1999 he announced an initiative to broaden the country's economic base by attracting high-technology firms to the Dominican Republic. He attempted to improve the nation's image abroad and in August 1998 served as host of a regional summit of Caribbean nations. In April 1998 he restored diplomatic relations with Cuba.

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