Ruling party candidate claims win in Dominican vote
SANTO DOMINGO (Reuters) – Ruling party candidate Danilo Medina claimed victory on Monday in the Dominican Republic’s hotly disputed presidential election, avenging his defeat 12 years ago by opposition candidate Hipolito Mejia.
With the official count in Sunday’s voting 99 per cent complete, Medina and the ruling Dominican Liberation Party (PLD) held a 4 percentage point lead over Mejia, the candidate for the Dominican Revolutionary Party (PRD), according to official results.
“With this victory I want to unite the Dominican Republic,” Medina, 60, told a small group of supporters and PLD leaders at a ruling party office in the capital.
“I have said that in this campaign I wasn’t competing for the presidency of the republic, I am building on a dream to end social injustice and put my people on a better path toward progress and well-being,” he said.
There was no immediate concession speech from Mejia.
PRD officials defiantly accused the Central Electoral Board of vote-rigging and fraud, even after US Ambassador Raul Yzaguirre endorsed the election as “a triumph of democracy.”
“We have our own vote count,” said Cesar Cedeno, who ran Mejia’s campaign and openly questioned the 51 per cent to 47 per cent margin giving Medina an outright first-round victory.
“We won these elections and we’re going to prove it to the country,” Cedeno said.
Both parties accused each other of vote-buying as ballots were still being cast on Sunday. But election observers, while confirming some of those reports, had said the cases were isolated and had no impact on the outcome.
“Our observations and evaluation basically coincide with the results made public by the Central Electoral Board,” said Daniel Lobato, an election observer from Chile.