Published: 12:58, May 20, 2024
Abinader declares victory in Dominican Republic presidential race
By Xinhua
Incumbent presidential candidate Luis Abinader addresses supporters after the first vote count showed him leading in general elections in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, May 19, 2024. (PHOTO / AP)

SANTO DOMINGO — Incumbent President of the Dominican Republic Luis Abinader declared victory late Sunday in the presidential race after preliminary results were released.

In a speech delivered at his campaign headquarters, Abinader underscored his considerable lead over eight rival candidates, as the initial results showed he garnered 59.06 percent of the votes with 21.49 percent of the votes tabulated.

Abinader also vowed to push through a constitutional reform on the continuity of power that would not rely on the "personal whim" of the president in office. He said he would not run again after completing his second term

A candidate must get at least 50 percent of the votes plus one or more to win the election outright and avoid a runoff.

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Rival candidates Fernandez and Abel Martinez both said on X that they had called Abinader to recognize his election victory.

"Today our country shines with its own light," Abinader told jubilant supporters at the national headquarters of his Modern Revolutionary Party, pledging to serve as president for all citizens.

He called for a country "without distinction, without sectarianism and without party colors."

Abinader also vowed to push through a constitutional reform on the continuity of power that would not rely on the "personal whim" of the president in office. He said he would not run again after completing his second term.

Presidents in the Dominican Republic are restricted to two terms of four years, although previous reforms have extended presidential mandates.

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Abinader, a former businessman, has staked his claim on his adept handling of the COVID-19 crisis.

One of Latin America's most popular presidents, Abinader had approval ratings around 70 percent, a CID-Gallup poll showed in September.

He catapulted the island's all-important tourism industry to recovery in record-breaking time, returning the country to a predicted 5 percent growth in GDP in 2024, World Bank figures show.

 

With Reuters inputs