SANTO DOMINGO – Dominican President Danilo Medina, who is seeking reelection in the general election held on Sunday, is leading in the polls shortly after they closed – one hour late – according to data released by the Central Election Board.
Just 15 minutes after the polls closed at 7 p.m. and with the results of just 191 of the country’s 16,000 polling places tabulated, Medina, with the Dominican Liberation Party, had received 64.17 percent of the votes, followed by Luis Abinader, with the opposition Modern Revolutionary Party with 36.48 percent.
Dominicans are electing a president, vice president, legislators and some municipal officials, with 24,296 candidates vying for local government posts.
Polling places opened at 6:00 a.m. across the Caribbean country, but some delays were reported due to technical problems, such as lack of electricity, and the absence of election workers.
Election authorities thus decided to keep the polls open an hour longer than planned, and they closed at 7 p.m.
Thousands of technicians hired to install equipment needed at polling places quit, national elections office chief Roberto Rosario said.
Officials have not determined why the technicians quit and voters should cast their ballots in what will be the elections with “the highest turnout,” in the country’s history, Rosario said.
Alcohol sales, campaigning and public gatherings are prohibited on election day, officials said.
About 3,000 domestic and international observers are monitoring the general elections.
Former Colombian President Andres Pastrana is leading the Organization of American States, or OAS, observer mission.
A Central American Parliament, or Parlacen, delegation and embassy representatives invited by political parties and the national elections office, such as former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, are also monitoring the voting.
Medina was the favorite in the latest polls heading into Sunday’s general elections.