Dominican Republic's Abinader Looks Set for First-Round Election Win

By Dave Sherwood

"[President] Abinader has delivered on his promises," says AS/COA's Eric Farnsworth to Reuters.

The Dominican Republic's Luis Abinader, an anti-corruption crusader who helped catapult the island nation's economy from pandemic lows to one of the fastest growing in Latin America, looks set for a first round victory in presidential elections on Sunday.

Abinader, the country's current president and leader of the Modern Revolutionary Party, garnered 60% of voter intentions in an early May Gallup-RCC Media poll, a tally that puts him well ahead of his closest rival, three-time former President Leonel Fernandez, with 24.6%, and Abel Martinez with 11.1%. Several other candidates are polling at or under 1%.

The stakes are high for the Dominican Republic as the Caribbean island nation wrestles with an exploding humanitarian crisis on its doorstep in Haiti, still festering inequality and untenable levels of crime and corruption.

Those issues may draw substantial turnout among the 8.1 million eligible to vote for the next president, vice president and members of parliament on Sunday, leaving room for surprises. [..]

Abinader appointed a tenacious attorney general with a mandate to fight government graft in the first days of his administration, championed foreign investment and began construction in 2022 on a border wall to contain illegal immigration from Haiti, a move popular with constituents.

"Simply, Abinader has delivered on his promises. The economy is strong, corruption is being discouraged, the tourism industry has recovered since COVID," Eric Farnsworth, a Latin America expert at the Council of the Americas and Americas Society.

"The opposition is weak and divided. They promised unity in the second round of elections, but it appears there will not be a second round. So that point is moot absent some major unexpected event between now and elections."

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