Opposition concedes in Dominican Republic

2016-05-17 23:10
Dominican presidential candidate for the Modern Revolutionary Party, Luis Abinader, prepares to vote at a polling station during general elections in Santo Domingo. (Erika Santelices, AFP)

Dominican presidential candidate for the Modern Revolutionary Party, Luis Abinader, prepares to vote at a polling station during general elections in Santo Domingo. (Erika Santelices, AFP)

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Santo Damingo - The leading opposition candidate for president of the Dominican Republic grudgingly conceded his loss on Tuesday, accusing the winner and his ruling party of taking advantage of the power of the state to ensure their victory.

Luis Abinader listed a litany of alleged abuses as he spoke to supporters following his loss to President Danilo Medina in Sunday's election.

Abinader said Medina had the advantage of state resources, including the ability to grant or take away public-sector jobs. He pointedly noted that ruling party appointees dominate the court that oversees the election and control the Congress, which altered the Constitution so the incumbent could run for a second consecutive term.

The businessman, who ran for vice president in 2012 but has never held elective office, also accused the ruling Party of Dominican Liberation of using tricks such as paying people not to vote to reduce the opposition. Given all that, Abinader said he did better than expected, winning about 35 percent of the vote.

"You should be aware that there were many Dominicans who did not vote for you," he said in a remark aimed at the president.

Medina received 62 percent of the vote, enough to avoid a run-off. His party also appeared to have retained the control of the Senate and Chamber of Deputies that it has had for a decade.

An Organization of American States observer team blamed new fingerprint scanning machines for widespread delays and criticized the election finance system for now limiting private contributions and favouring established parties over upstarts. The team also said people were seen buying voter identification cards outside polling stations.

The OAS, however, didn't question the outcome of the election.

Read more on:    luis abinader  |  dominican republic

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