Fernández Reyna, Leonel Antonio
Leonel Antonio Fernández Reyna, 1953–, Dominican political leader, president of the Dominican Republic (1996–2000, 2004–), b. Santo Domingo. He spent his childhood in New York City and later earned a doctorate in law and politics from the Autonomous Univ. of Santo Domingo. He practiced law, and joined the Dominican Liberation party (PLD) when it was founded (1973) by former president Juan Bosch, his mentor. Fernández held several party posts but was relatively unknown until he was Bosch's vice presidential running mate in 1994. After Bosch lost and then stepped down as head of the party, Fernández succeeded him as PLD leader. Joaquín Balaguer, who had won in 1994, left office under pressure after two years, and in 1996 Fernández was elected president. He was defeated by Hipólito Mejía Dominguez in 2000, but in 2004 Fernández was again elected to the presidency, and he retained the office in 2008.