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Elections in Honduras: Xiomara Castro strengthens himself in the scrutiny and locks 12 years of conservative government

Comfortable in the first place of results in the vote count, Xiomara Castro, was proclaimed this Monday the elected president of Honduras and the first woman to govern the country. He celebrated his triumph in elections this Sunday and announced that he would form a government of “reconciliation”, of “peace and justice”, putting an end to 12 years of government of the conservative National Party.

While the scrutiny continued this monday, the candidate of the Partido Libertad y Refundación (Libre, left) prevailed with a wide advantage to the ruling Nasry Asfura (National Party).

With more than 51% of the records scrutinized, Castro obtained 53% of the votes over 33% of those obtained by the candidate of the ruling National Party, Nasry Asfura.

Xiomara Castro was proclaimed president-elect. Photo: Bloomberg

“We won. Twelve years of this people in resistance and today they have demonstrated … Today we celebrate a true civic party,” said the candidate shortly after the National Electoral Council (CNE) released the first results on Sunday.

“Never again are Hondurans going to abuse power in this country because from this moment the people will be the eternal current,” he said, taking his victory for granted despite the fact that the CNE reiterated that the results they were preliminary and no candidate was to declare himself victorious.

Castro, wife of former President Manuel Zelaya deposed by a coup in 2009, will succeed Juan Orlando Hernández, questioned for corruption and whose party would be ousted after 12 years in power

“I extend my hand to my opponents because I have no enemies. I will call for a dialogue starting tomorrow with all sectors of the Honduran nationality so that we can then find points of agreement and that this allows us to establish the minimum bases for the next government, “he added

"I reach out to my opponents because I have no enemies"Xiomara Castro said.  Photo: Bloomberg

“I reach out to my opponents because I have no enemies,” said Xiomara Castro. Photo: Bloomberg

“Out of the war, out of hatred, out of the death squads, out of corruption, out of drug trafficking. No more poverty and misery in Honduras. Ever onward to victory“, concluded

End of mandate for the National Party

Hondurans do not want the history of the 2017 elections to be repeated, when Hernández added another term in government in the midst of protests and accusations of fraud.

Juan Orlando Hernández and his wife, Ana García.  Photo: AP

Juan Orlando Hernández and his wife, Ana García. Photo: AP

So far ehe National Party has been in power for 12 years.

“We hope these elections are transparent, no matter who wins, but that wins fair,” José Alvarado, a 55-year-old lawyer, told The Associated Press after voting. win the best. I got up early to vote with enthusiasm, because if people are not interested in this, We are lost” he warned.

Julio César Nieto, a 62-year-old retiree from the judicial system, said he hopes political parties will act responsibly and recognize a winner for avoid violence which came after the elections four years ago. “Everyone is looking for a change,” Nieto said after casting his vote at an elementary school in the capital’s El Bosque neighborhood.

Incidents after the 2017 elections in Honduras. Photo: EFE

Incidents after the 2017 elections in Honduras. Photo: EFE

Voting seemed orderly in the early hours. Poll workers verified IDs, scanned fingerprints and took photographs of voters. Ballots were marked, deposited in clear plastic boxes – for the president, for members of congress, for local offices – and the voters’ pinkies were stained with ink.

The CNE confirmed in a statement Sunday afternoon that the website allowing voters to find out where they should vote had been down and an initial investigation suggested an attack on their servers. Complaints about the site’s blocking had started on Saturday.

Experts had warned that the elections would hinge on whether those dissatisfied with the National Party went to the polls in sufficient numbers to defeat the president’s powerful electoral machine. And attendance at the polls It was important.

During the day, several voting centers were crowded, something unusual in the last two elections -2013 and 2017- in which abstentionism was 2.2 million and 2.5 million voters, respectively. On this day, more than 3.2 million Hondurans went to vote, said the CNE.

Pandemic and two hurricanes

In a world battered by the coronavirus pandemic, Honduras may list the covid plague as just one of the crises it has faced. Last year, the country was devastated by two powerful hurricanes. Unemployment was 10.9% in 2020 and the economy contracted 9%. Gangs keep terrorizing the streets, forcing, along with economic factors, many Hondurans to emigrate.

Castro, who voted early near Catacamas, in east-central Honduras, said the country cannot last four more years with the same Hernández party in power.

Honduras also withstood the pandemic two hurricanes last year.  Photo: AFP

Honduras also withstood the pandemic two hurricanes last year. Photo: AFP

“We have to stop these caravans of Hondurans who leave our country en masse due to insecurity, lack of opportunities, lack of work, lack of health, lack of education,” he said.

The corruption exists with such impunity that Hondurans have turned their hopes to US federal prosecutors In New York.

Prosecutors won a life sentence for Hernández’s brother, Juan Antonio “Tony ” Hernández, for drug trafficking, and have accused the president of financing his political rise with drug money, although no charges have been filed against him. Juan Orlando Hernández has denied the allegations.

Although the path for Castro seems paved, there are doubts about how much change she can generate. Her husband, José Manuel Zelaya, was ousted by the armed forces in a coup in 2009. US prosecutors have linked him to bribes from drug traffickers, something he rejects.

ANSA AND AP

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