August 11, 2020, 12:28

Dominican Republic chooses leader amid rising COVID-19 cases

Dominican Republic chooses leader amid rising COVID-19 cases

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic —
With COVID-19 cases still surging, the Dominican Republic on Sunday held presidential elections that had already been delayed by the pandemic, and polls indicated that a businessman with no previous experience in government was the favorite.

Luís Abinader, a tourism industry leader who finished second in the last election, was leading in most recent surveys, with the governing party’s Gonzalo Castillo, a former public works minister, trailing. Former President Leonel Feernández, who served three previous terms, was also on the ballot, along with three minor parties.

Term limits prevented outgoing President Danilo Medina from seeking a third four-year term of his own.

The spreading coronavirus prompted officials to delay the election, which had originally been scheduled for May. It went ahead Sunday even though the Health Ministry on Saturday reported the highest daily count of new confirmed COVID-19 cases, 1,241. The country of some 10.5 million people has reported 794 deaths from the disease.

Lines were long and many voters appeared to ignore physical distancing rules as they cast ballots for 32 senators and 190 members of the lower house of congress.

The campaign was notably low key, with none of the mass meetings and street caravans common in previous years.


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