May 21st, 2012
Dominican Elections: Medina Narrow Victory, Opponent Claims Fraud

By Susana Hayward Soler, News Taco

There was jubilation Monday at the headquarters of the Dominican Liberation Party, where hundreds of supporters gathered to celebrate the apparent victory of economist Danilo Medina in the presidential elections held Sunday in the Caribbean nation.

It wasn’t so happy for supporters of opponent Hipolito Mejia, a former president running with the Dominican Revolutionary Party, who said he would challenge the claim, alleging fraud, and would present proof of voting irregularities this week.

With almost 100 percent of votes counted, Medina had just over 51 percent of the vote to Mejia’s 47 percent. The candidates needed more than 50 percent of ballots cast to avoid a runoff.

Representatives of the Organization of American States who observed the vote told The Associated Press there were some irregularities but they weren’t enough to alter the outcome.

Medina, 60, was the candidate of the ruling party to succeed President Leonel Fernández, who couldn’t seek a third term under the constitution. The party’s victory came following a multi-billion dollar spending spree that built new hospitals, roads and a subway system in the country, which shares the island of Hispaniola with its poorer neighbor, Haiti.

With 10 million people, the Dominican Republic has a long history of turbulent politics but it has the second-largest economy, fueled by tourism and sugar production, in the Caribbean after Puerto Rico.

(Photo by Inform.Tele.Antillas)

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