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Opposition expected to win Dominican Republic’s presidential and congressional elections


Opposition expected to win Dominican Republic’s presidential and congressional elections

Demonstrators in Santo Domingo after the DRs elections were suspended in February
Photo: Erika Santelices/AFP via Getty Images

The Dominican Republic will hold presidential and legislative elections today as COVID-19 cases continue to set daily records.

The election, previously scheduled for May 17, sees Gonzalo Castillo of the ruling Dominican Liberation Party (PLD) trailing Modern Revolutionary Party (PRM) candidate Luis Abinader, with the two polling at 35% and 53%, respectively. PLD President Danilo Medina’s push to reform the constitution in an attempt for a third term and a corruption scandal in 2017 have shattered support for the PLD.

Expect the PRM to comfortably win the presidential and legislative elections. It is unclear if a runoff election for president will be needed as some polls show Abinader just below the 50% threshold. Polls also show that the PRM should achieve comfortable majorities in Congress, allowing them to swiftly implement their policies.

Abinader has made clear his intention to primarily focus on relations with the US, contrasting with Medina’s preference towards China. Although Abinader’s platform mentions strengthening relations with both China and the US, his promise to develop an economic coordination agenda with Washington signifies the primacy of the US. Expect the new administration to primarily focus on US investment and tourism, especially since 40% of international tourists—the island’s primary economic engine—come from the US.

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