SANTO DOMINGO – Dominican Freedom Party presidential candidate Gonzalo Castillo on Sunday won the party’s primary elections by a narrow margin of about 12,700 votes against former president Leonel Fernandez who rejected the results.
Castillo, a 58-year-old businessman who has the support of President Danilo Medina, took 48.34 percent of the vote, compared to 47.61% of Fernandez, with 99.68 percent counted.
“We are going to share this victory with the entire nation, because this win belongs to the country... we will keep on doing the things as we have been doing so far, with respect and decency,” said Castillo, the former minister of public works, in an address broadcast from his campaign office.
The former minister will have as his main rival the businessman Luis Abinader, who won by a wide margin of 74.07 percent of the votes in the internal elections of the Modern Revolutionary Party.
Castillo’s victory was overshadowed by Fernandez’s decision not to recognize the results, which he believes were rigged.
Fernandez sowed doubts about the electoral process and, especially about the automated voting system, which was used for the first time in the country.
The president of the Central Electoral Board, Julio Cesar Castanos Guzman, defended the functioning of the system, saying that the automated vote “worked well, very well.”
Observers denounced other irregularities, the most serious being vote buying.
Castillo claimed to have achieved a “historic win” after 66 days of campaigning, although he said his victory is only the beginning of his aim to reach the presidency of the country in the May 2020 elections.
He said he would listen to the people as dialog and closeness had led to this victory and added that the new open-door policy is not about separation, but building bridges.
He added that, “there still remains long way to go; in the next eight months we must reach to the last corner of the country to show the people that we are the option that guarantees a better future, listening to all the Dominicans and opening the participation to you all. Do not leave me alone.”