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The outgoing big favorite, Haiti in the background

Photo: Frederico Parra Agence France-Presse Luis Abinader gets ink put on his finger after voting at a polling station during the general election in Santo Domingo.

Santo Domingo

Posted at 7:21 p.m.

  • Americas

The Dominicans voted on Sunday for presidential and legislative elections in which the big favorite is the outgoing Luis Abinader, who intends to benefit from his economic record and his firm policy towards Haiti.

All 16,726 polling stations opened at 7 a.m. local time and closed at 5 p.m. The first results are expected around 8 p.m. About eight of the 11 million Dominicans were expected to vote.

According to polls, Mr. Abinader is headed for a 4-year re-election in the first round. He should receive around 60% of the votes ahead of former president Leonel Fernandez (1996-2000, 2004-2012), credited with 25% of the vote, while the other six candidates would be satisfied with crumbs.

Mr. Abinader's political party, the Modern Revolutionary Party (PRM), which had already won 120 of the 150 municipalities in February, should also obtain the majority of seats of the 190 deputies and 32 senators at stake.

To watch in particular, the vote of the diaspora, mainly based in the United States. It represents 11% of voters and its remittances to the motherland represent 9.1% of GDP in 2022, according to the World Bank.

“I voted for Abinader… He did a good job,” says Maria Ramona Antonio, a 74-year-old dentist. “Look at how tourism is going, which creates jobs… The roads built, these people in need who now have health insurance. »

“It has to be Leonel” the next president, declares Jonas Mancebo, a 32-year-old trader from a working-class neighborhood in Santo Domingo. “A lot of things can be improved. »

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Haiti: “Let all these people leave”

“It’s a country that has a lot of democratic maturity . Dominican democracy is strong and will emerge strengthened,” assured Mr. Abinader in a brief statement after voting in Santo Domingo.

“We are confident,” Mr. Fernandez promised after voting in a working-class neighborhood of the capital. “We saw a great turnout. »

The opposition denounced on Sunday “the massive buying of votes” by the president's party, claiming to have “collected evidence – videos, photos”, according to Manuel Crespo, an opposition delegate. “Once again, they (the PRM) are buying ballots,” protested former president Danilo Medina (2012-2020), “They want to repeat what they did in February,” during the municipal.

Approximately 70% of Dominicans approve of Mr. Abinader's management, and in particular his firm policy towards Haiti.

Since coming to power in 2020, he has increased anti-immigration and expulsion operations, and built a wall on part of the border with Haiti, in the grip of a chronic political and humanitarian crisis aggravated by the violence of gangs who control a much of its territory.

“Haiti ? What we want is for all these people to leave for their Haiti, it affects us a lot,” says Deisy Castillo, a voter.

“I don't like the vexations made to our Haitian brothers and sisters, but I like a very strong nationality policy. I like the current position of maintaining sovereignty,” says Javier Taveras, who nevertheless expresses doubts about the effectiveness of the border wall.

Abinader also boasts of positive economic results, citing “high” growth, “range-bound” inflation and low unemployment. The World Bank forecasts a 5% increase in GDP by the end of the year, as does the IMF, which highlights the country's “potential” to “become an advanced economy” in the coming decades.

Leonel Fernandez, however, denounces manipulation of the figures and promises to improve the country's economic performance. “We will eat again,” he repeats, criticizing the rising cost of living. The basic food basket increased by 3.56% in 2023 compared to 2022.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116