Dominican Republic's women rise to the occasion
Friday 17 May 1996
"I wanted to make sure I got my vote in. The country needs a change," she said after standing outside the San Cristobal music school - ballot station 107A - for six hours.
A new voting system aimed at eliminating the traditional fraud, with women given three hours to vote in the morning and men in the afternoon, appeared to work smoothly.
Ballot box officials spoke of a female turnout of at least 80 per cent, with hundreds of women, many cradling babies, queuing at most stations before the crack of dawn.
Many men began showing up during the morning, saying they simply wanted to admire the line-up of local women.
With longtime president Joaquin Balaguer barred from running for another consecutive term, the question was whether Jose Francisco Pena Gomez, of the social-democratic Dominican Revolutionary Party (PRD), could win the 50 per cent needed to avoid a two-man run-off on 30 June.
If he falls short, horse-trading by the shrewd 89-year-old Mr Balaguer could tip the balance in favour of Leonel Fernandez of the Dominican Liberation Party (PLD) in the run-off.
PRD voters were adamant yesterday that Mr Balaguer, in power most of the past three decades at the head of the Social Christian Reformist Party (PRSC), was in fact supporting Mr Fernandez rather than his party's own candidate, Jacinto Peynado, because the latter was a distant third in opinion polls.
With the PRSC's votes added to those of the PLD, Mr Fernandez, a 42-year- old lawyer, could defeat Mr Pena Gomez in a run-off.
"Fernandez sold his soul to the devil, Joaqin Balaguer," shouted a Pena Gomez supporter outside a polling station in the town of Bani.
"That's false. You have no proof," replied Felipe Sanchez, wearing the purple badge of a PLD polling observer.
Results are expected today. The last presidential election was in 1994 when Mr Balaguer beat 59-year-old Mr Pena Gomez by only 30,000 votes. The latter, who is vice-president of Socialist International, claimed massive fraud, saying up to 200,000 of his supporters had been prevented from voting in the election.
Foreign observers and the American administration supported the allegations and Mr Balaguer was forced to agree to a shortened, two-year term as president and not to run for office again.
- 1 Reyhaneh Jabbari: Iran due to execute woman for murder of her alleged attempted rapist
- 2 Expert urges cat lovers to own just one animal each
- 3 Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
- 4 The Simpsons death: Creator Al Jean would 'kill himself' before character like Homer or Lisa
- 5 British man raped while urinating in bushes at Oktoberfest beer festival in Germany
Five-year-old Iris Grace is raising awareness of autism through her extraordinary paintings
Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
Isis an hour away from Baghdad - with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
The Aral Sea: Nasa pictures show how what was once the fourth largest lake in the world has become almost completely dry
British man raped while urinating in bushes at Oktoberfest beer festival in Germany
Isis, we are told, is a 'clear and dangerous threat to our way of life'. I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy it
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
'Women, walk wherever you want' posters taken down in Stamford Hill following 'unacceptable' signs separating men and women
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
- < Previous
- Next >
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (Campaigns, Offlin...
£90000 - £135000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Marketing (B2C, Acquisition...
£27000 - £30000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client who are...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Huxley Associates are currentl...