The Caribbean tourist haven of the Dominican Republic votes for a president on Sunday, with incumbent Danilo Medina tipped to win despite crime, poverty and corruption accusations against his party. His centrist PLD party has been in power for 12 years in the Spanish-speaking state, which shares the island of Hispaniola with its troubled neighbor, Haiti. The Dominican Republic’s economy is booming thanks to the millions of dollars foreigners spend visiting its luxury hotels and beaches. Output grew seven per cent last year. But 40 per cent of the island’s 10 million residents are estimated to live in poverty and the unemployment rate is about 14 per cent, according to the government.
Medina, 64, nevertheless ranked as the most domestically popular leader in Latin America, with an 89 per cent approval rating in a survey by Mexican consultancy Mitofsky.
Surveys of voting intentions by pollsters such as Gallup indicate he will get around 60 per cent of the vote, enough to win the election outright without the need for a runoff.
His nearest rival, social democrat Luis Abinader, had 29 per cent, the survey showed. “Medina represents continuity and maintaining the monopoly on leadership that one party holds,” political scientist Rafael Toribio Dominguez said.