The dominican Republic has been hard hit by the pandemic

La République dominicaine durement frappée par la pandémie

The dominican Republic voted on Sunday to elect its president and its Parliament, during an election, defying the pandemic Covid-19, in this Caribbean country very dependent on tourism, where the number of cases explodes.

According to the social distance, apply today your right to vote”, said the chairman of the central electoral Commission, Julio Cesar Castaños, giving the kick-off of the ballot.

The two favorites for the presidential election are from the middle left: Luis Abinader of the revolutionary Party modern (opposition) and Gonzalo Castillo of the liberation Party dominican (LDP), the formation of the outgoing president Danilo Medina, who cannot represent himself after two terms of four years.

The latest polls give winner Luis Abinader, 52-year-old, who announced on 11 June, having contracted the new coronavirus, in front of Gonzalo Castillo, 59 years of age. A successful Abinader would put an end to 16 years of reign without sharing it with the LDP.

If no candidate gets 51% of the votes, a second round will take place on July 26.

The 7.5 million Dominicans of voting age are called to elect their president, their vice-president, as well as the two houses of Parliament. The voting stations will close at 17: 00 (local time)

Hard-hit by the pandemic

Despite the containment put in place as early as the month of march, the coronavirus continues to grow in this country of nearly 11 million people and forcing the authorities to postpone the elections originally scheduled for may 17.

On Saturday, the authorities have recorded 1.036 new cases, the highest increase daily since the beginning of the pandemic in the country at the beginning of march.

For the time being, the authorities have identified 36.184 cases and 786 deaths linked to the virus.

The economic consequences of the epidemic are still the most vulnerable part of the population that is likely to toggle back into poverty in the event of a shock, ” notes the world Bank. On Wednesday, the flights have resumed to and from the dominican Republic, the first tourist destination of the Caribbean, which has opened its borders at the same time. The recovery in tourism should be done gradually.

The election authorities have strongly encouraged the Dominicans to go to the polls with a great deal of commercials that encourage them to “put on a mask and go to vote”.

But in the midst of the epidemic, the fervor of election is not at the rendezvous. The candidates appear, certainly, on huge posters in the streets, but the meetings have been banned due to the containment that doubles as a night-time curfew.

In recent years, protests have multiplied in the country against the corruption in the wake of the scandal Odebrecht, the name of a giant in the brazilian building, which has admitted to having paid bribes to many political leaders in Latin America.

In the last classification as of the date on the perception of the corruption of the NGO Transparency international, the caribbean country occupies the 137th place out of 180 countries.

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