Dominican Republic's Medina cruising to second term: partial results

lunes 16 de mayo de 2016 00:46 GYT

By Jorge Pineda

SANTO DOMINGO May 15 (Reuters) - Dominican Republic President Danilo Medina appeared to have easily won re-election, with partial results late on Sunday showing his record of a surging economy and social projects swayed voters in the Caribbean nation despite graft accusations.

Results counted by hand from 18 percent of polling stations showed Medina's coalition won 62 percent of the vote, a margin that if sustained would be enough to avoid a runoff election.

His closest rival, businessman Luis Abinader, had 35 percent in the early results, a sign Dominicans were unwilling to ditch Medina for untested promises of more social spending and lower crime.

The remaining six candidates combined had about 3 percent of votes, including the first two women running for the presidency in a Dominican election.

A noisy motorcade of Medina's supporters drove through the capital on Sunday night, blaring reggaeton music in celebration of his apparent win. Medina did not declare victory and his rival did not concede.

The election was marred by a shootout at a voting center, long lines and grumbles by the opposition over the method of counting and releasing results.

Final results were not expected until Monday, with the paper ballots laboriously counted by hand.

A left-of-center economist, Medina has had high popularity ratings during much of his four-year term in the country of 10.4 million. Electoral rules were changed to allow him to run for a second consecutive term.   Continuación...