Dominican Republic president declares himself winner in election

Dominican Republic president declares himself winner

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC  –  Dominican Republic President Luis Abinader declared himself the winner of the weekend’s presidential election in a race where crime and safety were among voters’ biggest concerns.

Official results are still pending, but the election website shows the former businessman leading by a wide margin as two of his top challengers conceded. As of last Monday afternoon, Abinader had 57.46% of the votes counted.

Votes have been counted in over 99% of the polling stations, according to real-time data from the electoral board, which has yet to declare a winner.

However, last Sunday, both Abinader’s main rivals congratulated Abinader on his win. “Tonight I called President Luis Abinader by phone to recognize his electoral victory and wish him success in his administration,” candidate Leonel Fernandez wrote last Monday night on X.

“I’d like to wish luck to Luis Abinader, our country has plenty of challenges, I ask God that we overcome them as a nation,” Dominican politician Abel Martínez said in a statement.

If Abinader wins, he will be in office until 2028. The 56-year-old former economist and businessman first assumed the presidency in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic and has presided over one of the fastest-growing economies in the region.

The popular leader has promised four more years of economic growth and experts expect Abinader to expand on his first term’s priorities, which include development, reform, and the fight against corruption.

The vote comes amid the spiraling political and social crisis in neighboring Haiti, which shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic. The crisis has seen Abinader’s administration seal the island’s shared border and airspace.

He has also been accused of stoking anti-Haitian sentiment, and in 2022, the United States embassy warned Black and “darker-skinned Americans” that they risk “increased interaction” with Dominican authorities amid an immigration crackdown. (CNN)…[+]