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Thursday, May 25, 2006 

May 24, 2006, 11:09PM
Dominican President's Party Wins Election
By JONATHAN M. KATZ Associated Press Writer

© 2006 The Associated Press

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic — Dominican President Leonel Fernandez's party has won the Caribbean country's recent legislative elections, according to results released Wednesday, which should enable him to carry out economic reforms.

The Dominican Liberation Party won 52 percent of nearly 3 million votes nationwide, which will likely give it a majority of seats in Congress, electoral commission spokesman Felix Ryan said.
Gaining control of Congress will help Fernandez push through economic reforms and complete the building of a metro system in the capital _ initiatives that had been blocked by the opposition.

The election was May 16, but counting took more than eight days because of a high number of defective ballots, the electoral commission said.

Twenty-two parties fielded candidates in legislative elections in the first nationwide vote since Fernandez took office in 2004. Fernandez replaced Hipolito Mejia, whose administration was dogged by corruption scandals and economic woes.

Mejia's Dominican Revolutionary Party won 22 percent of the vote, a drastic decline from the current Congress in which it controlled all but three Senate seats and half the House.
A total of 210 legislative seats were up for grabs.

The key issue during campaigning was the economy, which was hit hard under Mejia and is blamed by many experts for his re-election loss to Fernandez. Inflation has since fallen and the country's gross domestic product grew 7 percent in 2005, according to the Central Bank.

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