A governing party official appeared headed for a first-round win in the Dominican Republic’s presidential election as supporters of his opponent complained of rampant vote-buying and other forms of fraud. Danilo Medina of the current president’s Dominican Liberation Party led with 51 percent of the vote with 75 percent of ballots counted. His main rival, former President Hipolito Mejia of Dominican Revolutionary Party had nearly 47 percent. The winner needed more than 50 percent to avoid a runoff. Reinaldo Pared Perez, the secretary general of the Dominican Liberation Party, told jubilant supporters that Medina had won but they were still awaiting official confirmation from the Electoral Commission. Mejia’s representative on the Electoral Commission accused the ruling party of fraud, saying the former president should have received many more votes than what was being reflected in the results. “We all know what party the director of the Electoral Commission belongs to,” he said at a news conference.
Voting appeared smooth, though several people told The Associated Press that backers of Medina were offering people payments of about $15 to vote for their candidate or to turn over their voting cards and withhold their vote for his opponent. Medina campaign organizers denied the allegations, which have circulated in the country for weeks.
Francisco Alvarez, coordinating the 3,000 observers of the civic group Citizen Participation, said many reports had come in from around the country of vote-buying by local workers for both parties.