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The opposition Luis Abinader wins in the first round the presidential elections of the Dominican Republic

The outgoing president and the other candidates acknowledge Abinader’s victory

The main opposition candidate, Luis Abinader, has won in the first round the presidential elections held on Sunday in the Dominican Republic, according to the preliminary results of the Central Electoral Board (JCE), a victory that has already been recognized by the outgoing president, Danilo Medina , and the other candidates.

According to the updated data from the JCE, Abinader has obtained 52.52 percent of the votes cast, above the 50 percent necessary to avoid a second round that would have been held on July 26.

The official candidate, Gonzalo Castillo, has been a long way away, with 37.68 percent of the ballots, while former President Leonel Fernández has been third, with 8.72 percent.

“We Dominicans win and Dominicans who today demonstrate our democratic vocation by exercising the right to vote in favor of change. May the joy continue while we await the official results of the Central Electoral Board,” Abinader wrote on Twitter.

It remains for the JCE to officially proclaim him president-elect, although Medina y Castillo, of the hitherto ruling Dominican Liberation Party (PLD), and Fernández, of the newly created People’s Force, have already recognized him as such. “The projections point to our victory being irreversible,” Abinader stressed on election night.

Medina congratulated Abinader via Twitter calling him a “new president-elect” and revealed that he had already spoken to him to wish him “the greatest success.” Along the same lines, Castillo considered the victory of his rival “irreversible” and asked him to “wisely manage” the country.

“We wish him the protection of the Almighty and successes in his management, which we hope will be for the benefit of the Dominican people,” said Fernández, who has pointed out as the main challenge for the next president “the current health, economic and social crisis.”

The victory of Abinader, of the Modern Revolutionary Party (PRM), ends the hegemony of the PLD in Dominican politics after having governed the country for 20 of the last 24 years, 16 of them uninterrupted.

Abinder, a 52-year-old economist and businessman, has thus made a dream come true that he has pursued at least since 2012, when he was a candidate for the Vice Presidency with Hipólito Mejía, and that he was resisted in 2016, as a presidential candidate.

The PRM’s electoral feat would be completed with a victory in Congress, which on Sunday renewed its 190 deputies and 32 senators. However, the outcome of the parliamentary elections is still unclear.

In the upper house the PRM would repeat the presidential victory, with 57.52 percent of the votes, compared to 41.78 percent of the PLD, but in the Chamber of Deputies, the fight is more bitter, with a slight advantage of the PLD (43.59 percent) over Abinader’s party (43.21 percent).

The Dominican Republic’s general elections have been marked by the coronavirus pandemic. Initially scheduled for May 17, they had to be postponed to July 5 and the vote has been governed by the rules of social distance and the use of a mask and hydroalcoholic gels.

The Dominican Republic is one of the Caribbean countries most affected by COVID-19, with more than 37,000 cases and some 800 deaths. The Government imposed curfews and quarantines, but all preventive measures declined with the state of emergency on June 30.

On Sunday, while Dominicans voted, a record number of daily infections was confirmed after the first days without a state of emergency, 1,241 new cases for a total of 37,425. In addition, eight other deaths were recorded, bringing the number to 794.

Aside from the pandemic, the election day was shaken by the murder of a PRM inspector, Julio César Pérez, in the Ensanche Simón Bolívar in the National District in full vote, around 11.00 (local time).

According to the Dominican press, there was a discussion between militants before the electoral college installed in the Nuestra Señora del Carmen polytechnic institute that led to a shooting in which Pérez died.

“People interviewed at the scene affirm that the shots that caused his death were made by an individual only known as Andy, who fled and is being sought by the Electoral Military Police,” the Electoral Military Police has indicated.

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