Luis Abinader of the Modern Revolutionary Party (PRM) seems to have emerged as the front runner in the presidential elections held in Dominican Republic on July 5. The Central Electoral Board (JCE) of the Dominican Republic, after counting 41.16% of the votes, presented the preliminary results and announced that the PRM candidate was leading with 53.27% of votes. As of July 6 with 47.95% of the votes counted, Abinader maintains his lead with 52.44% of the vote share.
In second place is Gonzalo Castillo of the ruling Dominican Liberation Party (PLD) with 37.66% of the votes, followed by former President Leonel Fernández of the People’s Force (FP) with 8.81% of the votes. In total 6 candidates are competing for the presidency. The other three presidential candidates: Guillermo Moreno of the Country Alliance (ALPAÍS), Juan Cohen of the National Citizen’s Will Party (PNVC), and Ismael Reyes of the Institutional Democratic Party (PDI) have received less than 1% of votes each.
Several hours after polls closed on July 5, Abinader proclaimed himself as the president-elect of the Dominican Republic, considering his victory in the elections as “irreversible”. In a “victory” speech to his supporters in the capital, Santo Domingo, which was broadcast on his Twitter account, Abinader said that “tonight we received the result of a huge collective effort and I want to clarify that, although the Central Electoral Board has not officially declared the winner, the projections suggest that our victory is irreversible.”
“We all won! We, the Dominicans, won, who today demonstrated our democratic will by exercising the right to vote in favor of change. May the joy continue as we await the official results of the Central Electoral Board,” Abinader tweeted later.
Presidential candidates Gonzalo Castillo and Leonel Fernández accepted their defeat and recognized Abinader’s victory. The incumbent left-wing president, Danilo Medina, also congratulated the new president-elect.
If this trend continues, Abinader could be the next President of Dominican Republic. If none of the candidates receive more than 50% of the votes, the second round of elections will be held between the top two candidates on July 26.
Over 7.5 million Dominicans were eligible to elect the country’s new president, vice president, 32 senators, 190 deputies and 20 representatives to the Central American Parliament (PARLACEN) for the period of 2020-2024. The new president will assume office on August 16.
The elections had been originally scheduled for May 17, but were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Dominican Republic is the first Latin American country to hold general elections amid the health emergency. The elections advanced with some irregularities, but with high turnout at the polling stations despite the coronavirus disease. Frequent cleaning of polling stations, use of face masks by officials and voters, disinfection of hands, identity card, and voter’s card at the polling stations and a 2-meter distance between voters were some of the mandatory measures.