Former President Joaquin Balaguer, 78, widened his lead in presidential election returns today as the official vote count was stalled near completion.
Results from 92 percent of the polling stations in Friday's presidential contest gave 41.5 percent of the votes to Balaguer and 39.7 percent to former President Jacobo Majluta, 51.
Former president Juan Bosch, a Marxist, had 18.25 percent and three minor candidates shared the rest.
Despite trailing Balaguer by 35,000 votes, Majluta claimed victory, telling reporters, "I won, and nobody can take this victory away from me." He later told a news conference that he would demand a total recount because "I won."
Spokesmen for Balaguer's campaign said his advantage was irreversible. But a spokesman for Majluta's Dominican Revolutionary Party, which currently holds power, said Balaguer's lead could be erased when thousands of challenged ballots are reviewed.
Balaguer, a protege of dictator Rafael Trujillo, ruled the country with an iron fist from 1966 to 1978, when he lost an election to the Dominican Revolutionary Party. Balaguer's eye sight is so bad that he cannot read.
After the latest returns were announced this morning, the Central Electoral Board issued no further results from the presidential count. The board said tabulating would resume Monday.
Party officials said the delay was needed to verify returns that came by radio from remote provinces.
Santo Domingo was calm yesterday and today. 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.