Dominican Republic’s new president pledges to fight pandemic, corruption

SANTO DOMINGO, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) — Luis Abinader, the Dominican Republic’s new president, pledged on Sunday to strengthen healthcare amid the COVID-19 pandemic and fight corruption, during his first presidential speech.

“COVID-19 has exposed the country’s serious institutional weakness … this is an opportunity to overcome our structural deficiencies,” he said after being sworn in.

The Dominican Republic has registered more than 85,000 cases of infection and 1,400 deaths from the disease, which has impacted tourism, one of the island’s leading industries.

Abinader also promised to go after corrupt former officials, saying “we will not under any circumstances allow past corruption to go unpunished, and whoever stole money from the people will necessarily have to face justice.”

The economist and businessman won the general elections last month with 52.52 percent of the votes. As the candidate of an alliance of opposition parties led by the Modern Revolutionary Party, he has brought an end to 16 years of rule by the Dominican Liberation Party.

His swearing-in ceremony at the National Assembly in the capital Santo Domingo was attended by several Caribbean heads of state and envoys from the United States, the European Union, Turkey, and Guatemala.

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