Sun, May 18, 2008 - Page 7 News List

Fernandez declares victory in polls

AP , SANTO DOMINGO

President Leonel Fernandez declared victory early yesterday in the Dominican Republic's national election and pledged to continue pushing forward economic projects that have helped pull the Caribbean nation's economy out of crisis.

His main rival, center-left construction magnate Miguel Vargas, said he accepted the results. Vargas received 41 percent of the vote, while populist candidate Amable Aristy led a batch of other challengers to hold third place with less than 5 percent.

Fernandez had 53 percent of the vote, or 1.8 million of 3.3 million votes counted as of early yesterday, the Central Electoral Commission said. The commission had not yet declared him the winner, however.

The former New Yorker needs to win at least 50 percent of votes to avoid a run-off. Fernandez said that he views his apparent victory as a renewal of confidence in the Dominican Liberation Party.

Vargas said in a late-night speech that he “accepts and recognizes” the results.

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