Dominican Republic votes in presidential elections

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People in the Dominican Republic were voting today to elect a new president, reports BBC news.

Opinion polls say the incumbent, Danilo Medina, will win the first round of voting, but it is unclear whether he’ll get more than the 50% of votes needed to avoid a run-off.

Under Mr Medina, the country’s economy has been booming. But his main challenger, Luis Abinader, has accused the government of corruption and failing to tackle the high crime rate.

Mr Medina’s Democratic Liberation Party has been in power for 12 years, winning four of the past five presidential elections. Electoral rules were changed recently to allow the president to run for a second consecutive term.

He has benefitted from an economy that is the fastest growing in Latin America with 7% growth in 2014 and 2015, thanks to millions of tourism dollars from foreigners flocking to the country’s luxury hotels and beaches.

But around 40% of the nation’s 10m people are estimated to live in poverty and the unemployment rate is about 14%, according to government figures.

[. . .] Danilo Medina, a left-of-centre economist, has overseen the repatriation of tens of thousands of people with roots in neighbouring Haiti. The policy has popular support but has been condemned by human rights groups.

His main rival challenger, Luis Abinader of the Modern Revolutionary Party (PRM) is a wealthy businessman of Lebanese ancestry. He has blamed Mr Medina for government corruption and the country’s high crime rate. [. . .]

For original article, see http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-36298420

Also see http://www.dominicantoday.com/dr/local/2016/5/15/59287/Dominican-Republic-votes

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