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  • Writer's pictureFrantz Alcema,

Dominican Republic Delays Presidential Election Over Coronavirus Concerns

The Dominican Republic, which had been set to go to the polls in a first round of presidential elections in May, will postpone the vote until July due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the country's election commission announced.

In a statement on Monday, the country's Plenum of the Central Electoral Board said it had been forced to postpone the election because of the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

The election had been scheduled for May 17 but would be moved forward to July 5, the statement said.

A Gallup poll published last month gave Luis Abinader, who represents the Modern Revolutionary Party (PRM), a strong lead over his closest rival, Gonzalo Castillo.

Former president Leonel Fernández had 17 percent of the vote, according to Gallup. Incumbent President Danilo Medina, who is serving his second term, is ineligible to run again.

With more than 3,100 confirmed cases and nearly 180 deaths, the Dominican Republic is among the worst-hit countries in the Caribbean. Until about a month ago, there were only a handful of cases in the country of about 10.6 million people.

However, since then coronavirus infections have spiked, reaching as high as 271 new cases in a single day by late last week.

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