Dominican presidential elections: No surprise, Abinader re-elected

Dominican presidential elections: No surprise, Abinader re-elected
Fecha de publicación: 
27 May 2024
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As expected, the president of the Dominican Republic, Luis Abinader, was re-elected in the first round of the elections held last Sunday, in which the seats in both parliamentary chambers were also at stake.

Abinader obtained 59.11% of the votes and practically double those earned by the runner-up candidate, former president Leonel Fernández, with 26.95%. Former president of the Chamber of Deputies and mayor of Santiago (second most important city in the country), Abel Martínez, ended third places with 10.73%.

The winner, from the Modern Revolutionary Party (PRM, progressive liberal), was the overwhelming favorite among the nine candidates running for these elections, in which over 8.1 million citizens were called to the polls (of them more than 868,785 abroad) to elect the president, vice president and members of the bicameral Congress (32 senators and 190 deputies), as well as 20 representatives in the Central American Parliament (Parlacen).

The campaign was marked by the immigration challenge posed by the unprecedented crisis in neighboring Haiti and concerns about a society that suffers from strong inequalities, despite the fact that Abinader, an economist, made the Dominican Republic become a leading economy in the region.



Although there are prominent leaders who speak from the left and act from the right, the nine Dominican candidates presented themselves from progressive positions:

Luis Abinader of the Modern Revolutionary Party (PRM, center-left), Abel Martínez, of the Dominican Liberation Party (PLD, center-left), Leonel Fernández of Fuerza del Pueblo (FP, progressive left), Miguel Vargas of the Dominican Revolutionary Party (PRD, social democracy ), María Teresa Cabrera of the Frente Amplio (left), Virginia Antares Rodríguez, of the Democratic Option (progressive left), Fulgencio Severino of the Movement (Patria Para Todos), Pastor Carlos Peña (Generation of Servants) and Roque Espaillat, of the Party Democratic Hope (PED).


Abinader has placed the Dominican Republic in high-level world politics. He has achieved all this by overcoming the different economic crises, making efforts so that the people do not suffer in that regard.

He had promised in August 2020, in the middle of the pandemic, a government of change and he is implementing it with a package of measures in which facts come before Trumpist populism that seeks to turn any anecdote into a national crisis.

The effects of this new style of governing are proven in the approval ratings and Luis Abinader, once the results of his government started to be perceived, has established himself at the forefront of world politics, in which he occupies fifth place. place. On our continent, he is only surpassed in sympathies by Salvadoran Bukele and ranks one position up Mexican López Obrador, according to Gallup.


But all is not rosy for the re-elected president. Three issues have strongly marked the electoral process.

Among them is the crisis in Haiti, a country with which the Dominican Republic shares almost 400 kilometers of border on the island of Hispaniola, and the migratory challenges that this same crisis triggers, when there are, unofficially, some two million Haitians in the Dominican territory, 1,700,000 illegally.

The severe governance crisis that Haiti is experiencing, added to the dispute over the diversion of the Masacre River, known as Dajabón, from the Dominican side, has led Abinader's government to close the border, with the support of the opposition.

Insecurity is another issue of concern for voters. 66.5% of Dominicans points crime to be the country's main problem, according to data from the National Multipurpose Household Survey, published in December 2023. In 2022, the homicide rate exceeded the one from the previous year, reaching 13.1 per 100,000 inhabitants. Although Luis Abinader assured that his government will reduce last year's crime, the other candidates showed concern about crime, which they believe is out of control.

Lastly, the most controversial issue of all, the economic situation of the country. According to the World Bank, during 2023, the economic growth of the Dominican Republic's GDP was 2.5%, above the average growth of Latin America (2.2%). However, this boom hides the flaws of the Dominican system in terms of distribution of wealth.

The Dominican Republic continues to be a very unequal country. About 1% of the country's richest population controls about 42% of the total wealth.

Abinader champions his economic balance, but he will have to do more since, as surveys indicate, hundreds of thousands of Dominicans are not sure what they are going to eat the next day.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Díaz/ CubaSí Translation Staff

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