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Dominican Republic Voters Expected to Re-Elect Medina

  • VOA News

Citizens cast their votes for the general and local elections at a polling station in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, May 15, 2016.

Citizens cast their votes for the general and local elections at a polling station in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, May 15, 2016.

Dominican Republic President Danilo Medina looks set to retain control of the country for a second term, with early results showing him winning enough of the vote to avoid a run-off election.

Preliminary results from 14 percent of polling stations, have Medina with 60 percent of the vote. If that margin holds after all the votes are counted Monday, Medina will give his ruling party its fourth president in the last five elections.

Pre-elections polls forecast Medina could take more than 50 percent of the vote, which would allow him to avoid the June run-off election.

His centrist Democratic Liberation Party has been in power for 12 years, winning four of the past five presidential elections.

Dominican Republic President and Dominican Liberation Party (PLD) presidential candidate Danilo Medina (R) greets his supporters during a march in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, May 12, 2016.

Dominican Republic President and Dominican Liberation Party (PLD) presidential candidate Danilo Medina (R) greets his supporters during a march in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, May 12, 2016.

In 2015, Medina, who was limited to one four-year-term, passed a reform that has allowed him to run for a second term.

Medina benefits from an economy that grew by seven percent in the past year. But more than 40 percent of the Dominican Republic's 10 million residents are estimated to live in poverty.

Medina has been criticized for government policies that discriminate against Dominican-born children of Haitian immigrant workers. He has overseen the repatriation of tens and thousands of people with roots in Haiti, a policy condemned by human rights groups.

Dominicans vote in New York, May 15, 2016. (Celia Mendoza/VOA Spanish)

Dominicans vote in New York, May 15, 2016. (Celia Mendoza/VOA Spanish)

His closest competitor in Sunday's race is businessman who is expected to command about 29 percent of the vote.

Abinader, who has never held public office, has campaigned on a platform of increasing social welfare programs, reducing crime, and increasing the national minimum wage.

He has criticized the Medina government alleging corruption in government contracts.

Nearly seven million Dominicans are eligible to vote in Sunday's election. Results are expected on Monday.

Some material for this report came from AP, AFP and Reuters.

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