(CMR) There was celebration across Honduras Sunday night after Leftist opposition candidate Xiomara Castro declared that she had won the presidential election. Castro (62) is expected to be the first female leader of the Central American country.
With 40% of votes counted, Castro, the wife of former President Manuel Zelaya, had 53.5%, while Nasry Asfura, candidate of the ruling National Party, had 34%, Reuters reported.
Supporters hailed a triumph that would end a dozen years of conservative rule and return the left to power for the first time since Zelaya was deposed in a 2009 coup.
According to Reuters, Castro vowed to form a government of “reconciliation” and to strengthen direct democracy with referendums – a tool that Mexico's leftist President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has repeatedly employed.
“There will be no more abuse of power in this country,” said Castro, dressed in a red jacket and flanked by the 2017 presidential runner-up, popular TV host Salvador Nasralla, who joined her slate as a candidate for vice president.
Castro, the opinion polls leader since tying up with Nasralla in October, sought to unify opposition to Hernandez, who has denied accusations of having ties to powerful gangs, despite an open investigation in the United States linking him to alleged drug trafficking.
“We can't stay home. This is our moment. This is the moment to kick out the dictatorship,” Castro said just after voting in the town of Catacamas, mobbed by reporters.
She urged voters to report any problems they saw and said international observers would help to ensure a fair vote.
After polls closed, National Party officials claimed victory after what the electoral council described as a historic turnout.
The election is the latest political flashpoint in Central America, a major source of U.S.-bound migrants fleeing chronic unemployment and gang violence. Honduras is among the world's most violent countries, although homicide rates have eased, Reuters said.