President Danilo Medina declared electoral victory in the Dominican Republic on Monday as results showed him ahead with a huge margin, but the win was marred by deaths and violence exacerbated by the slow pace of the vote count. Medina swayed voters with a record of surging GDP growth and social projects that outweighed stubborn poverty, high crime and accusations of graft in the Caribbean’s largest economy. “We have received the support of the majority of the Dominican people,” Medina said in a speech at his campaign headquarters, thanking the nation for his victory. Final results were still not out more than 24 hours after polls closed on Sunday night, a situation electoral authorities blamed for tension between candidates that led to six deaths and unrest in the provinces.
Television in the eastern city of Higuey reported gunfire on Monday afternoon and said torched tires were still burning at night.
In its latest bulletin, the electoral board said that with votes counted at 67 percent of polling stations, Medina had won 62 percent of the vote, exceeding the 35 percent of his closest rival, Luis Abinader. Abinader has yet to concede defeat and said he would make his first comments after the election on Tuesday.
The margin is large enough to avoid a runoff, a first for Latin America’s fastest growing economy, whose luxury beach resorts and golf courses make it the Caribbean’s most visited destination.