SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) — Luis Rodolfo Abinader was sworn in as president of the Dominican Republic on Sunday in a ceremony attended by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Abinader, a 53-year-old businessman who had never held elected office, was elected to a four-year term on July 5, ending a 16-year run in power by a center-left party. He finished second in the 2016 presidential election.
On Friday, the Trump administration only got support from the Dominican Republic when the 15-member U.N. Security Council resoundingly defeated a U.S. resolution to indefinitely extend the U.N. arms embargo on Iran.
“This election resounds as an example to other nations of the power of democracy and what is possible when countries prioritize the wishes of their people,” Pompeo tweeted after Abinader’s inauguration.
An honor to attend the inauguration of newly elected Dominican President @LuisAbinader. This election resounds as an example to other nations of the power of democracy and what is possible when countries prioritize the wishes of their people. pic.twitter.com/1F242gJlo5
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) August 16, 2020
The elections in the Dominican Republic took place as the new coronavirus pandemic was sweeping across the Caribbean nation of some 10.5 million people. Abinader himself had spent weeks before the election in isolation following a positive test for the virus, and the vote itself had been postponed from May due to COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.