Latin America & Caribbean

Dominican Republic's Danilo Medina claims election victory

Dominican Republic President Danilo Medina gives a speech to his supporters in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, 16 May 2016 Image copyright EPA
Image caption President Danilo Medina celebrated with supporters outside his campaign headquarters

The Dominican Republic's President Danilo Medina has claimed victory in Sunday's election as partial results show him ahead by a wide margin.

With 67% of votes counted, Mr Medina had 62%, well ahead of his rival Luis Abinader on 35%.

Mr Abinader admitted defeat but accused the president of misusing state resources to win re-election.

Mr Medina's Dominican Revolutionary Party also looked to have kept control of the Senate and Chamber of Deputies.

At a rally for supporters, President Medina said the people had voted to "continue on the path that we started".

"We have received the support of the majority of the Dominican people," Mr Medina told cheering supporters at his campaign headquarters in the capital Santo Domingo.

Dominican Republic elections: Key issues

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Luis Abinader has blamed Mr Medina for government corruption

Mr Abinader, addressing his supporters, listed a series of alleged abuses.

He accused Mr Medina's party of paying people not to vote to reduce the opposition and said the governing party had swayed the electorate by being able to grant or remove public-sector jobs.

"You should be aware that there were many Dominicans who did not vote for you," he said in a remark aimed at Mr Medina.


Profile: Danilo Medina

  • Born in 1950, oldest of eight children
  • Became a student activist for the social-democratic Dominican Revolutionary Party and followed its leader, Juan Bosch, into the Liberation Party in 1973
  • Played a major role in defusing a constitutional crisis and bringing to a close the era of authoritarian president Joaquin Balaguer
  • Lost to Hipolito Mejia in the 2000 presidential election
  • Narrowly won against Mr Mejia in the 2012 election

Electoral rules were changed to allow the president to run for a second consecutive term.

Voting on Sunday was extended for an extra hour after delays caused by technical problems at some polling stations.

The Democratic Liberation Party has been in power for 12 years and the economy has been booming, largely thanks to tourism.

But about 40% of the nation's 10 million people are estimated to live in poverty and the unemployment rate is about 14%, according to government figures.

Mr Abinader, a wealthy businessman of Lebanese ancestry, has blamed Mr Medina for government corruption and the country's high crime rate.

Mr Medina, a left-of-centre economist, has overseen the repatriation of tens of thousands of people with roots in neighbouring Haiti.

The policy has popular support but has been condemned by human rights groups.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Voting was extended after technical problems at some polling stations

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