North Coast July 5, 2020 | 11:12 am

Election day gets off to spirited rousing start on north coast of Dominican Republic

Line of voters outside Gregorio Luperon school polling center. Photo Melinda Mose

Renn Loren

Puerto Plata

 

It’s eight o’clock in the morning. The polls opened an hour ago. The skies are mostly blue with a tinge of gray-brownish Sahara dust. The sun has no problem shining through. Parked cars line the street on both sides from end to end near the polling center at Gregorio Luperon school.

Lines of cars on both sides of the street. Photo Melinda Mose

 

As our friend and taxi driver Elias Ynoa says, “politics are like a sports event to the Dominican people.” And it is clear this morning how popular voting is here in the DR.

Although Luis Abinader is the national favorite according to most polls, most people in Puerto Plata and Sosúa seem to be hoping presidential candidate Gonzalo Castillo wins today.

The crowds are orderly and calm. Bachata music can be heard in the air. There’s a palpably festive positive feeling of community in the lines and groups of voters gathering around the vendors and at the entranceways of schools where the polling centers are located. Vendors selling whole grilled pork (Puerco Asado), coconuts, and fresh tropical fruit juices offer goods from their stands at the intersections of cordoned off streets near the polling centers.

Voters grab something to eat from street vendors while waiting. Photo Melinda Mose

Voters gathered around street vendors. Photo Melinda Mose

 

Long lines of citizens with pandemic relief money in hand also formed around the grocery stores waiting for them to open so they could spend their government aid on much-needed food.

Things have been improving noticeably in the Dominican Republic for the past few years under President Danilo Medina of the Dominican Liberation Party (PLD), and the people are hoping that the new president will continue that momentum.

Many people will continue to vote throughout the day up until the polls close at 5:00 p.m. this afternoon.

Though it was postponed from May 17, due to the pandemic, election day is well underway in the Dominican Republic.