Dominican Republic goes to the polls
The people of the Dominican Republic will go to the polls today to vote for a new president, vice-president, the National Congress which includes the 32 seats in the upper house or Senate and the lower house Chamber of Deputies with its 190 seats. There are also 20 seats in the Central American Parliament up for election as well as 158 mayors and 1,164 council seats.
In the 2012 election Danilo Medina of the centre-left Dominican Liberation Party (PLD) won the presidential election with 51.21% of the vote in the first round of voting. His closest rival was Hipólito Mejía of the centre-right Dominican Revolutionary Party (PRD) who took 46.95% of the vote.
In this election there are eight presidential candidates standing as follows:
Danilo Medina Sánchez; incumbent president representing the centre-left Dominican Liberation Party (PLD). His running mate for vice-president is Margarita Cedeño de Fernández
Luis Rodolfo Abinader Corona; of the centre-left Modern Revolutionary Party (PRM) with running mate Carolina Mejía de Garrigó
Guillermo Moreno García; of the centre-left Alianza País (Alpais) along with Mary Cantisano de Almánzar
Pelegrín Horacio Castillo Semán; of the centre-right National Progressive Force (FNP)
Juan Alberto Cohen Sander; representing the centrist National Party of the Citizens’ Will (PNVC)
Minerva Josefina Tavárez Mirabal; representing Alliance for Democracy (APD)
Flor Soraya Aquino Campos; of the centre-left National Unity Party (PUN)
Elías Wessin Chávez; representing the centrist Christian Democratic Party Quisqueyano (PQDC)
The latest opinion polls suggest that Danilo Medina is ahead on 47.1% with Luis Abinader just behind on 42.6%. But if it goes to a second round runoff then the polls put Abinader fractionally ahead on 49.1% with Medina on 47.8%. In the Dominican Republic there are two rounds available and the winning candidate must get an absolute majority (50% +1).
Although the National Congress is elected every four years, the last elections in 2010 also extended the term of office to 2016 so that in future they could be synchronised with the presidential election.
The results in 2010 gave the Dominican Liberation Party 105 Deputies and 31 Senators whilst the Dominican Revolutionary Party took 75 Deputies and no Senators. The one remaining Senator went to the centre-right Social Christian Reformist Party (PRSC) along with three Deputies. No other party won any seats.
In this election there are 6,502,968 registered voters who will vote at approximately 14,000 polling stations from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. local time and they will be able to choose from 24,400 candidates representing 26 political parties.