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Balaguer Lead Grows Wider in Dominican Vote

From a Times Staff Writer

Former President Joaquin Balaguer, 78, widened his lead in presidential election returns Sunday, but rival candidate Jacobo Majluta claimed victory.

“I won,” Majluta told a press conference Sunday night. “I have no doubt that I won.” He said the electoral process was “adulterated” by irregularities, and he demanded a recount and the removal of two members of the Central Electoral Board.

Meanwhile, the armed forces issued a statement backing the electoral process “without reservations,” calling it “pure, clean (and) democratic.”

Official results from 92% of the polling stations in Friday’s presidential contest gave 41.5% of the votes to Balaguer and 39.7% to Majluta, 51. Juan Bosch, a Marxist, had 18.25%, and three minor candidates shared the rest. Majluta and Bosch are also former presidents.

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Spokesmen for Balaguer’s campaign claimed that his lead is irreversible. But a spokesman for Majluta’s Dominican Revolutionary Party, which currently holds power, said Balaguer’s lead could be erased when electoral officials review thousands of challenged ballots.

After the latest returns were announced Sunday morning, the Central Electoral Board issued no further results. The board said tabulating will resume this morning.

Political party officials said the delay was needed to verify returns that came by radio from remote provinces.

Santo Domingo was calm Saturday and Sunday. As a precaution against political disturbances, troops and police patrolled the streets, while radio and television stations were barred from broadcasting any political reports beyond the official election returns.


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