the ruling right recognizes its defeat, Xiomara Castro heads for the presidency

The way to the presidency of Honduras is open for Xiomara Castro. The right in power, ahead of 20 points by the candidate of the left, admitted, Tuesday, November 30, its defeat in the presidential election, while the partial results relate to more than half of the votes.

Nasry Asfura, the defeated National Party (PN) candidate, said in a statement, having personally congratulated Castro. “I hope that God enlightens and guides her so that her administration does the best for the good of all of us Hondurans, to fulfill the development and the desires of democracy”, he announced. Mr. Asfura had pledged to respect the result of the vote and asked that no “Not a drop of blood”.

Earlier in the day, the secretary of the PN central committee, Kilvett Bertrand, wished “ success to those who won the elections ”. NP will continue to “To work with force and from the opposition to take care of democracy”, he continued. “You can see the climate of peace and tranquility that there is in the country, even if the National Party has not been elected at the head of the government”, he added.

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Washington eager “to work with the next government”

Hondurans are still awaiting the final results of the election, at the end of which Castro would become the very first woman president of this Central American country. Since the closing of the polling stations on Sunday, the vote count has progressed slowly.

According to partial results covering 52.07% of the ballots, Mme Castro, 62, of the Freedom and Refoundation Party (Free), won 53.49% of the vote, far ahead of Nasry Asfura (33.98%). According to the National Electoral Council (CNE), many minutes arrived in physical form must now be processed electronically, while a first half arrived directly in digital format.

Washington has officially reacted to the result of this election. “The United States congratulates the Honduran people on her election and Xiomara Castro on her historic victory as the first woman president of Honduras”Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement. “We look forward to working with the next government of Honduras”, he added.

As early as Sunday evening, Xiomara Castro, wife of former President Manuel Zelaya, overthrown in 2009 by a coup, claimed victory. The former first lady promised to “Form a government of reconciliation”.

A bruised country

In this Central American country of 10 million people, plagued by violence and poverty, participation has reached a level “Historical” exceeding 60%, according to the CNE. On Tuesday, in a preliminary statement, the European Union observation mission stressed that the “Election day was generally calm and the transmission of results has gone smoothly so far”.

“At the same time, the run-up to the general elections was marked by unprecedented levels of political violence and intense polarization”, is it written in a press release. “At least six mayors, candidates and activists were assassinated in the weeks leading up to the elections”, said Tuesday from Tegucigalpa, the head of the European mission, Zeljana Zovko, at a press conference.

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The announced victory of Mme Castro will end twelve years of reign of the National Party. She will succeed President Juan Orlando Hernandez, who is finishing his second term amid suspicion of drug trafficking. In 2013, Mr. Hernandez had beaten Xiomara Castro by a short head, and then flouted the Constitution to run for a second term in 2017. His questionable re-election on the wire against television star Salvador Nasralla had provoked violent demonstrations.

Mme Castro will have to rule a country bruised by gang violence, drug trafficking and the consequences of two devastating hurricanes that ravaged the country in 2020, where 59% of the population lives in poverty. Unemployment has almost doubled in one year, due in particular to the coronavirus pandemic, going from 5.7% in 2019 to 10.9% in 2020.

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Each year, tens of thousands of Hondurans try to join the million of their compatriots who have fled violence and misery, the overwhelming majority in the United States.

With a homicide rate of 37.6 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2020, Honduras is also one of the most dangerous countries in the world (excluding conflict zones).

The World with AFP