Pro-Business Leader Abinader Seeks Reelection as Dominicans Vote

(Bloomberg) -- Voting has started in the Dominican Republic as pro-business President Luis Abinader seeks a second four-year term on the back of one of the strongest economies in the Americas.

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Polls showed Abinader to be the front-runner in a race that pits him against former President Leonel Fernández, and Abel Martínez, the mayor of Santiago de los Caballeros.

A candidate needs at least 50% of the vote to avoid a June 30th run-off.

Abinader, 56, with the Modern Revolutionary Party, campaigned on reinforcing the nation’s economic success story and resisting calls from the international community to take in refugees from neighboring Haiti.

Read More: As Haiti Crumbles, Its Neighbor Is Thriving With a Tourism Boom

The nation’s economy will grow 4.4% this year, according to analysts surveyed by Bloomberg, powered by tourism and strong foreign investment. While unemployment and poverty are also falling, the opposition argued that many Dominicans have missed out on the boom.

Voters will also elect senators and representatives during Sunday’s election.

Polling stations close at 5 p.m. local time with preliminary results expected by 8 p.m.

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