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Dominican opposition declares victory in coronavirus-hit election

Opposition candidate Luis Abinader has claimed victory in the Dominican Republic’s presidential race after voters braved a worsening coronavirus outbreak to cast their ballots for a new leader and legislature.

In preliminary results on Sunday accounting for 60 percent of ballots cast, Abinader, 52, of the opposition Modern Revolutionary Party (PRM) won 53 percent of the vote, which if sustained would be enough to avoid a runoff election.

Gonzalo Castillo, 59, of the ruling Dominican Liberation Party (PLD), whose candidacy was endorsed by President Danilo Medina, was in the second place – in a six-man race – at 37 percent of the vote. Both parties are centrist.

Medina, 68, who served two consecutive four-year terms, was ineligible to seek re-election after failing to win sufficient backing for a constitutional change to run again.

“Today we vanquished fear with hope and doubt with determination,” Abinader told dozens of his supporters at his campaign headquarters in the capital, Santo Domingo.

His main rivals conceded defeat shortly after, although no official result has been announced.


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