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Dominican Republic mulls constitutional change amid protests

People march during a protest against a Constitutional reform that would allow President Danilo Medina a third term in office, in front of the National Congress in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Wednesday, June 26, 2019. The proposal has provoked protests from Dominicans who call it backsliding on a young democracy that emerged from decades of brutal dictatorship. (AP Photo/Tatiana Fernandez)

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic — A proposal in the Dominican Republic that would amend the constitution to allow President Danilo Medina to run for a third term in office has sparked protests among opposition lawmakers and critics.

The amendment would allow Medina to stay in office until 2024 if re-elected and could be introduced in upcoming days, with legislators saying they are finalizing the proposal.

Medina, 67, won a close election in 2012 and was re-elected by a wider margin in 2016 after his supporters amended the constitution to allow successive presidential terms. Until 2002, presidents in the Dominican Republic were only allowed to serve four years in office.

The amendment has spurred worry that the Caribbean country may be backsliding on a young democracy that only emerged from decades of brutal dictatorship.

MartíN José Adames AlcáNtara, The Associated Press