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  HOME | Caribbean

Political Violence in Dominican Republic Leaves 1 Dead

SANTO DOMINGO – One person was killed and another wounded in a gunbattle between supporters of the ruling party and the main opposition ahead of next month’s Dominican presidential election.

The violence broke out at an intersection in the northern city of Moca, where backers of the PLD’s Danilo Medina and PRD challenger Hipolito Mejia – a former president – confronted each other on Sunday.

Antonio Peña Ramos, 45, died of a gunshot to the chest, while 30-year-old Diogenes Matos was wounded in the leg, police said.

Police and prosecutors detained 15 people for questioning in connection with the shootout, which occurred on the main access road to the tourist resort of Puerto Plata.

Four of the six presidential hopefuls, including Medina and Mejia, signed a pact last week in which each pledged to respect the results of the May 20 election, to avoid intemperate rhetoric and to foster a climate of non-violence.

The campaign officially began Feb. 15.

Polls show Medina, chief of staff to outgoing two-term President Leonel Fernandez, leading Mejia, who governed the Dominican Republic from 2000-2004.

Medina’s margin is narrow, however, and most observers expect a runoff will be needed. EFE
 

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