(CMR) Hondurans headed to the polls on Sunday to pick a new president, with leftist candidate Xiomara Castro hoping to oust the right-wing National Party. The results of the election could remove the governing National Party from office for the first time since it took power in a 2009 military coup that ousted leftist President Mel Zelaya, who sought to align Honduras with Hugo Chavez's Venezuela.
Citizens are not happy with the choice of candidates as each has different scandals or questions marring their character. The front-runner, one of the country's former first ladies, is being portrayed as a radical leftist bent on sending the small Central American nation into the arms of Venezuelan and Cuban communists, NPR reports.
Castro, who would be the first female president, is also expected to stregthen relations with China.This could result in diplomatic jostling between Beijing and Washington as Castro said she would open diplomatic relations with China, de-emphasizing ties with U.S.-backed Taiwan.
Castro currently leads in the polls, NPR reports. National Party candidate Nasry Asfura is in second place. His campaign has benefited from the National Party's entrenched political machine, which distributes cash payments and other gifts to voters, but has been marred by allegations that Asfura embezzled millions of dollars during his two terms as mayor of Tegucigalpa, the nation's capital city. The third-place candidate, Yani Rosenthal, returned to Honduras in 2020 after serving a prison sentence in the U.S. for money laundering.
“There are no good options,” Dilisia Carranza, 48, who sells electronics from a small storefront in the industrial city of San Pedro Sula in northern Honduras, told NPR.
She said she was still deciding, but one she would cast a voto de castigo – or protest vote — against the ruling National Party.