[QODLink]
Americas
Dominican Republic votes in presidential poll
Two centre-left candidates are locked in a tight race, with 6.5 million voters eligible to vote for their new president.
Last Modified: 20 May 2012 20:56
Danilo Medina of the ruling Dominican Liberation Party is ahead in the opinion polls [AFP]

Voters in the Dominican Republic are going to the polls on Sunday to choose a new president, in a tight race between two rivals.

Polls show 60-year-old Danilo Medina, of the ruling Dominican Liberation Party (PLD) is leading by a comfortable margin of five to ten percentage points over 70-year-old Hipolito Mejia, who is hoping to return to power for the opposition Dominican Revolutionary Party (PRD), eight years after a failed re-election bid, having been president from 2000 to 2004.

President Leonel Fernandez is constitutionally barred from seeking a third term.

Four other candidates are also running, but opinion polls say they have marginal support and no realistic chance of winning.

Medina is promising to boost economic growth in the Caribbean country.

Mejia has vowed to fight corruption and create jobs - but his critics point out that when he finished his first presidential term, the country was facing probably the most serious financial crisis in its history.

While the Dominican Republic is far wealthier than Haiti, its poor neighbour on the island of Hispaniola, many Dominicans still struggle to meet their basic needs, prompting some to seek a better life by slipping in to nearby Puerto Rico, a US territory.

Many Dominicans blame poor Haitian immigrants for taking their jobs and getting involved in crime, which has doubled in the past decade.

The Dominican Republic is a popular resort spot, famous for its white sandy beaches and golf courses, but it also is the leading Caribbean trans-shipment point for South American drugs, destined for the United States and Europe.

About five per cent of the nation's 6.5 million eligible voters live overseas, including 220,000 registered in New York state.

A run-off will be held next month if no candidate manages to get at least 50 per cent of the poll.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Swathes of the British electorate continue to show discontent with all things European, including immigration.
Astronomers have captured images of primordial galaxies that helped light up the cosmos after the Big Bang.
Critics assail British photographer's portrayal of indigenous people, but he says he's highlighting their plight.
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
Featured
No one convicted after 58 people gunned down in cold blood in 2009 in the country's worst political mass killing.
While hosting the World Internet Conference, China tries Tiananmen activist for leaking 'state secrets' to US website.
Once staunchly anti-immigrant, some observers say the conservative US state could lead the way in documenting migrants.
NGOs say women without formal documentation are being imprisoned after giving birth in Malaysia.
Public stripping and assault of woman and rival protests thereafter highlight Kenya's gender-relations divide.