Reuters International

By Jorge Pineda

SANTO DOMINGO (Reuters) - Six people were shot dead at voting centres after polls closed in Dominican Republic's presidential election, the electoral chief said on Monday, blaming the clashes on delays to results stemming from parties' insistence on manual vote counting.

Roberto Rosario, who heads the Caribbean nation's electoral board, said tensions rose in the hours after polls closed on Sunday evening, as activists for different parties grew frustrated with the slow pace of the vote count.

"Six deaths were registered after the urns closed, six Dominicans who died in the process of counting. Nobody cares about this, but we do, it's what we didn't want to happen," he told reporters.

Ahead of the election, some parties insisted the results be counted manually, citing fears of fraud. The electoral board had instead wanted to use an electronic counting system to process the results rapidly.

"Our great worry was always the uncertainty after the voting," Rosario said.

Rosario did not give the names of the victims. Local media reported five deaths after voting centres shut at 1900 EDT/2300 GMT on Sunday. One other shooting death was reported on Sunday afternoon.

Final results have still not been announced, although President Danilo Medina almost certainly won re-election by a landslide, with partial results showing he took 62 percent of the votes, with 58 percent of votes counted.

Dominican Republic enjoys a fast growing economy and is more prosperous than many of its neighbours, but suffers from stubborn poverty and high crime rates.

(Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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