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Dominican president 're-elected'
Leonel Fernandez appears to have won his third term in office in the Caribbean nation.
Last Modified: 17 May 2008 06:14 GMT

Fernandez's campaign has claimed victory on the basis of an internal tally by his party [AFP]


The campaign chief of Leonel Fernandez, the president of Dominican Republic, says that he has won Friday's election in the first round, with enough votes to avoid a run-off.
 
Francisco Javier Garcia said late on Friday Fernandez had won nearly 54 per cent of the votes.
 
Miguel Vargas, Fernandez's main challenger, conceded defeat.
Garcia made the statement on the basis of an internal tally by Dominican Liberation Party, with 61 per cent of the votes counted.
 
"We got the result in the first round," he said.
 
Exit polls had showed that Fernandez could win a third term and capture enough votes to avoid a run-off.
The poll follows a bitter campaign in which opposition leaders blamed Fernandez and the Dominican Liberation Party for recent price increases and for allegedly using government funds to buy support.
 
Fernandez, who was president from 1996 to 2000, was again elected in 2004.

The run-up to the poll was marred by violence in which three people, including a former congressman, were shot dead in a clash between supporters of Fernandez and Vargas on Wednesday in Villa Vasquez, about 200km northwest of the capital, Santo Domingo.
 
At least eight people, including two ruling party officials, also suffered gunshot wounds in clashes that took place on Thursday and Friday.
 
'Social pact'
 
Fernandez, who helped pull the country out of an economic crisis triggered by the collapse of a leading bank in 2003, has vowed to introduce a "social pact" to address poverty and to increase government spending if he wins re-election.
 
However, he has faced criticism for spending hundreds of millions of dollars on building an underground transit system in Santo Domingo, a pet project aimed at easing congestion in the capital.
 
Voting for Dominican citizens abroad was also planned in 17 cities in Latin America, Europe and the US, including New York state, where Fernandez grew up.
Source:
Agencies
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