Dominican President Abinader wins second term

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By Creative Media News

  • Luis Abinader re-elected in Dominican Republic, wins in first round
  • Abinader secures 58.85% of votes, defeats Leonel Fernandez
  • Re-elected president pledges unity, strict stance on Haiti migration

Preliminary results indicate that President Luis Abinader of the Dominican Republic has been sworn in for a second term, securing victory in the first round of the election process.

The wildly popular president proclaimed victory on Sunday night after opponents conceded, having secured a sufficiently large margin to prevail without needing a rematch in the second round. In doing so, he vowed for unity and impartial leadership.

Abinader’s victory appears to validate his economic management and stringent stances regarding migration from neighboring Haiti.

As of late Sunday, reporting from slightly more than half of the polling centers showed Abinader retained 58.85 percent of the vote. According to preliminary data from electoral authorities, Leonel Fernandez, his closest adversary, and a three-time former president, was defeated by 27.29 percent.

Although final results were pending, it was evident that Abinader, 56, had won by a significant margin, surpassing the 50 percent threshold required to rule out a run-off election. This resulted in the concessions of Fernandez and another competitor, Abel Martinez.

At the headquarters of his Modern Revolutionary Party, Abinader addressed his supporters, “Today, our nation shines with its light.” He also vowed to serve as president for all citizens.

He advocated establishing a nation “devoid of sectarianism, distinction, and party colors.”

Furthermore, the re-elected head of state pledged to advance constitutional reform regarding maintaining power independent of the president’s “personal whims.” He declared his intention to abstain from re-running once his second term concluded.

The tenure limit for presidents in the Dominican Republic is two four-year terms. However, prior reforms have extended presidential mandates.

Although opposition parties documented several minor irregularities, the voting process during the election was generally seamless.

A technical error that caused the electoral authority to suspend the 2020 municipal elections continues to distress a significant portion of the eight million eligible voters despite the apparent increase in voter turnout.

As per the assessment of Luis Fortuno, a former governor of Puerto Rico and an international observer of the election, voters expressed contentment with the electoral process.

Fortuno stated, “The electoral process was conducted democratically, openly, and accurately.”

Refugees from Haiti

According to a CID-Gallup poll, Abinader, one of the most popular presidents in Latin America, had approximately 70% approval ratings in September.

Abinader’s main policies, which include an anticorruption agenda, a crackdown along the shared border with Haiti, and the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of migrants fleeing the violence-stricken neighbor, were all reinforced by the election result.

Abinader, an economist of Lebanese heritage educated in the United States, was elected in 2020 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic on the pledge to reinstate confidence in the government after a series of prominent corruption controversies involving public officials in the foremost tourist destination.

He immediately began construction on a 164-kilometer-long (102-mile-long) concrete barrier along the Haitian frontier to deter undocumented migrants. Despite facing global pressure to accept a greater number of refugees, he oversaw the deportation of over 250,000 migrants in 2023.

Willy Soto, a 21-year-old voter, was observed near Abinader’s campaign headquarters. He agreed with the migrant crackdown.

Although acknowledging that “the policies against [Haitians] are extremely stringent,” he told The Associated Press that the president’s actions are crucial for ensuring the safety of Dominicans such as himself.

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Soto stated, “This is not a problem that is resolved overnight.” Regarding the measures he has executed, including strict enforcement, border closure, and construction of a physical barrier, I believe this is a commendable endeavor in managing the issue of Haitian migration.

An additional voter, Javier Taveras, 38, expressed his approval of “the current stance on preserving sovereignty” to the AFP news agency, albeit with reservations regarding the mistreatment of our Haitian compatriots. Regarding the border wall, he stated, “I am unaware of its effectiveness.”

Popular among Dominicans, the migrant policy has been harshly criticized by human rights organizations, which have deemed it discriminatory and in violation of international law.

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