SANTO DOMINGO – Candidates for congressional and municipal posts in the Dominican Republic complained Monday of numerous irregularities in the May 15 balloting, in which President Danilo Medina was reelected with more than 61 percent of the vote.
As the complaints from the opposition mount, violent incidents have broken out in different municipal electoral boards, such as the one in Hato Mayor on Sunday morning, where unknown arsonists set fire to the election office.
The attackers doused the site with gasoline before setting fire to it, according to local reports, and authorities are investigating the matter.
In the municipality of Santo Domingo Norte, sympathizers of current Mayor Francisco Fernandez, who says he won the election there, violently confronted police and burned tires on the streets demanding that election authorities recount the votes giving a victory to the government’s candidate, current lawmaker Rene Polanco.
Police fired tear gas at the followers of Fernandez, with the Dominican Revolutionary Party, or PRD, an ally of the ruling Dominican Freedom Party, or PLD, but which in that municipality fielded its own candidate.
The situation forced authorities to bolster security at the municipal headquarters in northern Santo Domingo, where last week a ballot collection site – where the majority of the ballots supported Fernandez, he said – was set on fire.
Meanwhile, four opposition senatorial candidates on Monday went to the National District Election Board offices in downtown Santo Domingo and accused it of orchestrating fraud to favor the PLD candidate, current Sen. Reinaldo Pared.
In a communique read to the press by Aura Celeste Fernandez, a senatorial candidate for the minority Alianza Pais, or AlPais, party, candidates said improper procedures at the precincts “make it impossible to determine the winners at the level of congressmen.”
The Central Electoral Board said Sunday night that Medina received 61.76 percent of the vote, defeating PRM candidate Luis Abinader, who received 35 percent.
The PLD apparently managed to retain control of the National Congress, but the PRM won two Senate races, the PRSC another one and the Social Democratic Institutional Bloc yet another.
The ruling party also increased its sway with many municipal victories, but the PRM won the mayoral election in the National District, which had been administered for 14 years by the PLD.