UPDATE 16/02/2020 11:00 local time
Dominican Republic’s nationwide municipal elections were suspended on Sunday due to a glitch in the electronic voting system, Central Electoral Board (JCE) announced, adding that they will convene a new date promptly.
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Following the suspension, four hours after they started, due to automated voting failures, the opposition party People's Power (FP) said that the problem was provoked.
“We are going to initiate a thorough investigation of what happened and why those ballot papers did not load correctly,” the President of the JCE Julio Cesar Castanos said in a press conference.
The electronic system was used in 18 of the 158 municipalities and focused on cities and regions with high population density, accounting for 62.4 percent of the electorate. Paper ballots were due to be used elsewhere.
The decision was made after members of the JCE met with the delegates of the political parties accredited to that institution, trying to find a solution to the long delays that have arisen at the beginning of the municipal election.
"Only 12% of municipalities with automated voting have been able to operate, the teams do not have all the candidates on the ballot," said the leader of the Modern Revolutionary Party (PRM).
Complaints were expressed in different voting centers that some parties do not appear at the time of voting and in others, certain candidates did not appear.
A total of 7,487,040 Dominicans were called to the polls on Feb. 16 to elect about 3,849 positions between mayors and councilors in the country's 158 municipalities, according to data from the JCE.
In these elections, the Dominicans will elect 158 mayors, the same number of vice mayors, 1,164 councilors and their alternates, 235 directors and deputy directors and 735 members, who will take office on April 24 for a period of four years.
These elections are decisive both for the ruling Dominican Liberation Party (PLD), which together with its allies controls 107 of the 158 mayors, as well as for the opposition Modern Revolutionary Party (PRM), which is leading 30, including the of the National District, the center of the capital.
The reformist lawmaker for La Romana, Pedro Botello, denounced the 'chaos' in La Romana where allegedly “without explanation they still do not initiate the voting because they excluded from the voting system the Force of the People and Progressive National Force and other parties”.