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Daily News - 21 April 1998

PRD ahead by 10 points in Listín poll
According to a Listín Diario-Sigma Dos poll, the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano will sweep the National District (Santo Domingo) in the 16 May 1998 municipal and congressional elections. Santo Domingo is the most important electoral plaza in the country.
The leading newspaper contracted Sigma Dos, a prestigious Spanish polling firm, which determined that 47% of city residents will vote for José Francisco Peña Gómez, who is running for mayor on the PRD ticket. 62.3% of the voters said they would also vote for the PRD candidate to senator, Milagros Ortiz Bosch. The Partido de la Liberación Dominicana (PLD) is in second place. Roberto Salcedo received 37.1% of the voter's preference. 25.2% said they would vote for Franklin Almeyda, the PLD candidate to senator. Partido Reformista Social Cristiano (PRSC) candidate Rafael Corporán de los Santos received 7.2%. PRSC candidate to senator, Alexis Joaquin Castillo, was rated 5.2%. The survey was carried out 30 March to 3 April. 1.2% of those surveyed said they would not vote, and 6.1% are undecided.

Enjoy the light, while it lasts
It seems residents in the DR will have a respite from blackouts at least until the 16 May elections. Smith-Enron is reportedly generating 170,000 kilowatts of 185,000; and two of the brand new 34.5 kilowatt turbogas AEC Alsthom French plants are on line. The plants are costly to operate. President Fernández is scheduled to formally leave in operation on 22 April 1998 the first two of the five French power plants that are being installed in San Pedro de Macorís.
The Corporación Dominicana de Electricidad, the state electricity utility, said the nominal power deficit has dropped to 100,000 kilowatts. Government power units are generating 720,000 kilowatts and private plants are producing 485,000.
The respite is not expected to last beyond the 16 May elections, as the CDE needs to take several large plants off line for maintenance.

Bloodshed in political campaigning
In a yet clarified incident, PRD militant Victor Manuel Pérez was shot while taking place in a PRD political caravan. As reported in Hoy newspaper, Deputy Tony Raful said PLD militants were responsible for the death. The candidate to senator for the PLD for the province of Maria Trinidad Sánchez, Carlos Santana said this was not so. The PLD spokesman says it was the PRD militants themselves who were responsible for the death of the politician. They entered Rio San Juan drunk, firing guns to the air, thus they feel he was killed by a stray bullet. The PRD caravan was head by Jesus Vásquez, who seeks to be re-elected in the province of María Trinidad Sánchez. Hipolito Mejía, who aspires to the presidential nomination for the PRD, was also participating in the campaign. Tony Raful called for moderation and tolerance in political campaigning.

High expectations for DR aviation
The director of the Dominican Republic's Civil Aviation Board, lawyer Vitelio Mejía Ortíz said that his department is hard at work so that the objective of President Fernández, that the DR become a model for civil aviation in the Caribbean and Central America, be achieved. The DR CAB is implementing a program which would again make it possible for Dominican flag airlines to fly to the United States. The DR airplanes were banned when the FAA determined that there were severe infringements of safety regulations.
Mejía Ortíz made the comments when interviewed following his participation in the Second Meeting of Directors of Civil Aviation in the Caribbean and the V Meeting of the Network for the Improvement of Air Control Traffic Links being held in Santo Domingo.
The meetings are attended by civil aviation delegates from Aruba, Bahamas, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, the United States, Haiti, Cayman Islands, Turks & Caicos, Jamaica, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, United Kingdom, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and the Dominican Republic.

German Ornes's son to take over El Caribe
Antonio Emilio Ornes accepted the challenge to restore profitability to El Caribe, the leading daily in the 60s and 70s, which thereafter fell behind the competition. Antonio Emilio Ornes takes over from his father, German Ornes, who passed away last week after a long illness.
Ornes is a graduate of Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. He worked for UPI and AP newswire services, and at the newspaper as a reporter, managing editor and executive editor. He also directed TeleAntillas, which revolutionized television in the Dominican Republic. He left the DR at the return to power of then President Joaquín Balaguer in 1986, to be consul general in Tokyo and New Orleans for several years.

Trade with Cuba is US$50 million
Consul general of Cuba, Miguel Pérez Cruz said that trade between Cuba and the DR is less than US$50 million a year. He said that Cuba mainly sells pharmaceuticals and construction materials such as cement to the DR, and purchases supplies for its tourism industry. Consul Pérez Cruz said that maritime transport is a problem, but that air transport has improved and now there are almost daily flights. He explained that a Cuban shipping line services the DR.

PRD will choose its presidential candidate this year
José Francisco Peña Gómez, leader and candidate to mayor for Santo Domingo for the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano (PRD) said that the PRD would hold its National Convention soon after the 16 May municipal and congressional elections. He said that the party plans to have chosen and proclaimed its presidential candidate before the year is over. The leading contenders for the nomination are Hatuey de Camps, secretary general of the party, Hipólito Mejía and present mayor of Santo Domingo, Rafael Suberví Bonilla.
Peña forecast the PRD would maintain its share of provincial and municipal posts obtained in the 1994 election in the 16 May elections.

DR to match Germany, Brazil and Russia in World Volleyball Games
Coach Jorge Pérez Vento of the Dominican Women's Volleyball team said that the Dominican Republic was not favored by the draw for the World Games scheduled for Tokyo in November. He said the Dominican Republic was picked in the same group as Germany, Brazil and Russia. He said these are among the strongest teams. Germany is classified 10th in the world, but Brazil was the silver medal winner in the Olympic Games of Atlanta, and Russia's team is the top ranked team. The Dominican Republic is ranked 14th in the world. The team will open against Germany on 3 November.

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