[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
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
Critics claim a vaguely worded secrecy law gives the Japanese government sweeping powers.
A new book looks at Himalayan nation's decades of political change and difficult transition from monarchy to democracy.
The Church of Christ built a $200m megachurch while analysts say members vote in a block.
US state is first to issue comprehensive draft regulations for the online currency, but critics say they are onerous.
Survivors of Shujayea bombardment recount horror tales amid frantic search for lost family members.
join our mailing list