Medina apparent winner in Dominican presidential race

Although his opponent is claiming fraud, it appears that Danilo Medina, the candidate of the ruling Partido de la Liberación Dominicana (the Dominican Liberation Party) has won Sunday’s presidential election on a vote of 51.21% to just 46.95% for former president Hipólito Mejía, with 99% of the official count complete.

Medina will succeed outgoing PLD president Leonel Fernández, who served as president from 1996 to 2000 and who has served as president since 2004 — Fernández is barred from seeking more than two consecutive terms as president, but his wife, Margarita Cedeño, was Medina’s running mate, fueling speculation that Fernández may yet be viewing a third comeback in 2016.  Cedeño, as first lady, was especially active in health and education policy.

Medina has defeated Mejía of the center-left Partido Revolucionario Dominicano (the Dominican Revolutionary Party). Mejía served from 2000 to 2004 and defeated Medina himself in the 2000 election.  Mejía presided over a banking crisis that led to a faltering economy; in the ensuing eight years, the Dominican economy has been one of the fastest-growing in the Western Hemisphere, especially in marked contrast to Haiti, the other nation with which the Dominican Republic shares the island of Hispaniola.

Medina campaigned on a platform of reducing income inequality and reducing unemployment — despite a robust economy, almost a third of Dominicans live under the poverty line.

Although outside observers have not raised any red flags about voting irregularities, Mejía has refused to concede defeat and the PRD has alleged massive voter fraud.

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