A leader of the opposition Modern Revolutionary Party (PRM) died after being shot outside a polling station in Santo Domingo during voting in the presidential and legislative election on Sunday, July 5. Two other people were reportedly wounded in the incident, which occurred in the Simón Bolivar area of the capital at around 11:00 (local time). Police were deployed to the polling station at the gates of Nuestra Señora del Carmen Polytechnic and an investigation into the incident has been launched.
A heightened security presence is anticipated in the vicinity of the incident and localized disruptions are possible.
The general election was scheduled to take place on May 17 but was delayed as a precaution due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Polls indicate that Gonzalo Castillo of the ruling Dominican Liberation Party is likely to be beaten by Luis Abinader of the PRM. Incumbent President Danilo Medina is ineligible to stand for re-election having served two consecutive terms since 2012. If no candidate wins more than 50 percent of the votes, a second round run-off will be held on July 26.
The municipal elections in February were marred by technical difficulties, and irregularities in the electronic vote-counting process led to allegations of election rigging by the leading party, the Dominican Liberation Party. The technical difficulties caused widespread demonstrations, causing the Central Electoral Union (JCE) to suspend the initial election and hold a rerun on March 15. While the second-round of voting was relatively peaceful, there is heightened political tension in the country. Any allegations of misconduct in the coming election will most likely lead to significant nationwide unrest.
Individuals in the Dominican Republic are advised to monitor the situation, avoid the vicinity fo the incident and all large public gatherings as a precaution, adhere to instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments, and refrain from discussing political topics in public or on social media.
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