SANTO DOMINGO : Legend Closes Ground

The Dominican Republic holds presidential elections Monday with challenger Jose Francisco Pena Gomez holding a narrow lead in the polls over the incumbent, the political legend Joaquin Balaguer.

Pena Gomez, a center-leftist black in a country traditionally governed by its white minority, has promised to clean up rampant governmental corruption. At one point, he led the 87-year-old Balaguer by 15 points, but he has seen the margin slip to six points as the election nears.

Balaguer served as titular president under the dictatorship of Gen. Rafael Leonidas Trujillo in the 1960s, winning the office on his own for the first time in 1966. He has been in and out of the presidency since.

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