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Daily News - 13 May 1998

PLD & PRSC resume campaign
The Partido de la Liberación Dominicana (PLD) resumed its political campaign, which had been suspended following the death of the leader of the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano (PRD), Dr. José Francisco Peña Gómez. The PLD said it would postpone political gatherings until 14 May, the last day of the political campaign.
The government decreed three days of mourning - 11, 12 and 13 May. The municipal and congressional elections will be held 16 May.
Lidio Cadet, secretary general of the party, announced the party took that decision after the show of lack of respect and verbal aggressions from party members against President Leonel Fernández when he attended the Olympic Stadium to render his condolences to the relatives of Dr. Peña Gómez.
"The climate of intolerance against our party brings us to abstain from participating in Dr. Peña Gómez's burial ceremonies," said Cadet.
Furthermore, he said, "The PRD is using Dr. Peña Gómez as profuse electoral propaganda; that is, they have not respected his death to place new ads on the TV. It is they, the PRD militants, who have not respected anything."
The PRD is passing on radio and television a spot in which Peña says:
"I love my people, my country. Throughout my life, I have paid a high price for that."
"I have received ferocious attacks, sometimes head-on collisions, sometimes filled with subtle poison, like now."
"But I forgive you. My adversaries can count on my pardon."
President Joaquin Balaguer, of the Partido Reformista Social Cristiano, was also scheduled to resume his campaigning with visits to Bonao, La Vega, Moca and Santiago, in support of his party's candidates.

Cardinal López Rodríguez exalts Peña
During mass yesterday at the Olympic Stadium, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Santo Domingo, Cardinal Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez, called out to Dominicans to honor the memory of Dr. José Francisco Peña Gómez by voting in the 16 May elections. Peña Gómez was the leading opposition party's candidate to mayor. "Let the people decide who will make up Congress and who will guide the municipal affairs in the provinces," said the leading representative of the Roman Catholic Church in the DR. "His death has occurred in the same week as the elections. It is apparent he wanted to leave this world with his boots on, fighting until the end, overcoming the sickness that had sapped his strength, and in full exercise of his political vocation.
"Few will emulate him in his firm purpose that democracy be consolidated here. The Dominican people will know how to preserve with zeal and care this patrimony that so much hard work and sleepless nights has cost.
"We are before the corpse of a man who from the most humble origins grew to become a figure of more than national dimensions, a worldwide leader, who made friends and fostered relationships with the great players of the world in the past 30 years.
Also officiating the mass were Monsignor Agripino Núñez Collado, the Bishop of Higuey, Monsignor Ramon de la Rosa y Carpio.

Peña Gómez burial rites
Dr. José Francisco Peña Gómez will be buried today at the Cementerio Cristo Redentor, the principal cemetery of Santo Domingo. His tomb will be located 100 meters from the cemetery's entrance. His funeral entourage will leave the Olympic Stadium at noon, making two stops, one at the headquarters of the PRD and another at the Santo Domingo municipality. (Peña was a former mayor of Santo Domingo.)
The funeral entourage will go north from the Olympic Stadium to John F. Kennedy Ave., then south down Máximo Gómez Ave. to César Nicolás Penson Ave., Dr. Báez St., Ave. Bolívar, then Ave. Abraham Lincoln, to the municipality at Calle Ventura Simó, and then north by way of Ave. Jiménez Moya, Ave. Sarasota, Ave. Núñez de Cáceres to Autopista Duarte and the cemetery at 4 pm.
President Leonel Fernandez decreed that Dr. Peña Gómez, in recognition of his leadership and contributions to democracy, be given honors of chief of state, despite the fact the politician failed to reach the presidency in three attempts.
It is possible that the former (1982-1996) president of the Spanish government, Felipe González, who arrived Tuesday evening, will be the panegyrist. He was a personal friend of Peña Gómez, in addition to their political ties through the International Socialist organization. Upon arriving, González said that Peña Gómez was "a good man, one of vital energy, who dedicated his life working for others".

Peña dies at pinnacle of his popularity
The most recent Hamilton & Staff survey, carried out for Hoy newspaper, showed that Dr. José Francisco Peña Gómez died at the pinnacle of his popularity. The survey, carried out from 23-29 April throughout the national territory, and having interviewed 1,240 persons, showed that 59 out of every 100 Dominicans favored the political work of Dr. Peña Gómez. In the same survey, Jacinto Peynado, former presidential candidate in the 1996 elections for the Partido Reformista Social Cristiano, also received 59% of the vote. Dr. Joaquín Balaguer, leader of the PRSC, received 48%, and President Leonel Fernández received 44%.

A woman could be the next President
Hamilton & Staff survey, commissioned by Hoy newspaper, revealed that a woman could become the next President of the Dominican Republic. 90 out of every 100 citizens said they would vote for a woman candidate who has had political and business experience. 53% of Dominicans believe that men and women are equal when it comes to participating in politics and economics. The survey was carried out from 23-29 April throughout the entire country. PRD Senator Milagros Ortíz Bosch, who is again running for Congress, is the most highly rated candidate coming into the present elections.

Dominicans get Friday afternoon off
Most Dominicans will get Friday afternoon off. President Leonel Fernández has declared Friday, 15 May, after 12 noon, as non-working, with the exception of those who usually work on off days. The President approved a request from the Junta Central Electoral, the government department in charge of organizing the elections. The idea is that citizens will have time to travel to their home towns so they can vote on Saturday, 16 May.

No alcoholic beverages, please
The Junta Central Electoral, the department in charge of organizing the elections, has reminded supermarkets, restaurants, bars, and other shops selling alcoholic beverages that Article 109, Electoral Law 275-97, bans the sale of alcoholic beverages 24 hours prior to elections. This means that from Friday, 15 May, 6 am through Saturday, at 9 pm, these establishments are banned from selling alcoholic beverages. The National Association of Hotels indicates that beach resorts (all-inclusive packages) are exempt from the measure. City hotels and restaurants may sell alcohol beverages to tourists.

Placido Domingo to perform in Santo Domingo
Tenor Placido Domingo, the world renown tenor, will perform at the National Theater on 25 November. El Siglo newspaper reported that Dominican journalist Celcia Alvarez is responsible for the opera legend's visit to Santo Domingo. Celcia Alvarez made a career as a journalist abroad, living in Spain for eight years and in Miami for seven. She now returns to Santo Domingo, bringing back her excellent relations with the international show business world. She will have a TV show on Sunday's at 11 pm on Radio Television Dominicana, Channel 4. She expects to also present Sylvester Stallone, Salma Hayek and Andy García on her program.
El Siglo reported that on the TV program Plácido Domingo will talk about his professional life, and perform two songs that are part of his new CD produced by Argentinean Baby Silvesti.

Pan Am site to be announced in December
The Panamerican Sports Organization said that the winner of the right to host the year 2003 Pan Am Games will be announced on 5 December in Panama. The Dominican Olympic Committee is vieing for the seat of the Games, despite the opposition of many sectors that feel the investment will be too high for a country where sports installations are in decay primarily due to lack of maintenance. The DR lost the hostesship of the 1999 Games to Winnepeg, Canada by only one vote. In addition to Santo Domingo, other cities that seek to host the Games are Santiago de Chile, Medellín, Colombia and Guadalajara, Mexico.

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