President He is a favorite to win this Sunday’s elections in , amid great popularity for his handling of the economy and the pandemic and, above all, for his tough policy on Haiti. More than 8 of the 11 million Dominicans are called to the polls in these general elections, in which the 190 deputies and 32 senators of Congress are chosen at the same time. Abinader, 56 years old and seeking a second four-year term, is the great favorite of the nine candidates with 60% of voting intention, according to the latest poll by Gallup, a Costa Rican pollster considered by analysts on the island to be of the most reliable. He is followed by former president Leonel Fernández (1996-2000; 2004-2008 and 2008-2012), with 25%, and Abel Martínez, with 13%.

According to data from this survey, Abinader has a chance of winning re-election this Sunday if he obtains 50% plus one of the votes. If this is not achieved, a Second round on June 30.

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“He is going to a comfortable re-election,” Dominican political scientist Rosario Espinal told AFP. “He has known how to take measures that will add support for his re-election: subsidies, increased employment, the issue of Haitian migration.”

The president of the Dominican Republic and candidate for re-election, Luis Abinader, participates in an event on May 11, 2024 in Santo Domingo. (EFE/Orlando Barría).

/ Orlando Barria

Your policy on HaitiIn fact, it has received strong support, according to polls. Since coming to power, Abinader has increased immigration raids, built a wall on part of the border and closed migration from the neighboring country, devastated by a chronic political and humanitarian crisis, aggravated by the violence imposed by the gangs that control much of its territory.

“It is an issue that has generated support,” considered Espinal.

Two people look at pieces of clothing next to an electoral campaign poster of candidate Leonel Fernández in Santo Domingo.  (EFE/Orlando Barria).

Two people look at pieces of clothing next to an electoral campaign poster of candidate Leonel Fernández in Santo Domingo. (EFE/Orlando Barria).

/ Orlando Barria

It is not in any way a divisive issue: The candidates agree in defending deportations to Haiti -more than 250,000 in 2023- and increase security measures at the border.

“We will continue to deport anyone who is illegal,” said Abinader. in a debate three weeks ago. “We have that right,” he agreed. Fernandez. Both criticized international pressure for the Dominican Republic to welcome Haitian refugees.

Photograph of the electoral material inside a school in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.  (EFE/Bienvenido Velasco).

Photograph of the electoral material inside a school in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. (EFE/Bienvenido Velasco).

“We will win again!”

Santo Domingo and many provincial towns are covered with candidate propaganda on billboards, walls and houses. Abinader and Fernández have led rallies with hundreds of supporters shouting slogans and dancing Dominican merengue.

“We will win again!” chanted the campaign command Abinaderwho has asked to “seal” the victory, while the “president of progress,” as Fernández calls himself, proclaims that on Sunday “there will be surprises.”

Abinader’s management has an approval of 70%, according to Gallup, which highlighted that 47.5% believe that “things” in the country “are going in the right direction” and 40% believe that the economic situation “is better now.”

“Stabilizing a country is not that easy and putting it to work correctly is not that easy either, that takes time,” Genry Pérez, a 30-year-old transporter, told AFP. “That’s why the population wants to give him a chance” Abinaderhe assures.

Growth in the Dominican Republic.  (AFP).

Growth in the Dominican Republic. (AFP).

Fernández has accused the government of manipulating economic indicators.

“This government failed (failed),” repeats the former president, using baseball jargon. Abinader he hits back: he congratulates himself on his economic policy and the “better management” he made of the covid-19 pandemic.

Abinader congratulates himself on the economic achievements of his administration: talks about high growth, inflation “within the range” and low unemployment. The World Bank projects a 5% increase in GDP at the end of the year, as does the IMF, which highlights the country’s “potential” “to become an advanced economy” in the coming decades.

Abinader also insists that voting for Fernández is “returning” to corruption, which he promised to fight since his first campaign.

Surveys project that the Modern Revolutionary Party (PRM) of Abinader will take the majority of seats in Congress. This political organization has already won 120 of 150 mayoralties in the February municipal elections, considered a thermometer for the generals.

The Constitution allows consecutive reelection to a second four-year terms and the chance to compete again for the position held every other period.