Leftist candidate wins big in Honduras election

A leftist candidate will become Latin America’s only female leader after leading the ruling party significantly in a presidential election in Honduras on a promise to tackle corruption and inequality.

With more than half of the votes counted, Xiomara Castro, 62, won 53.6% of the vote. The candidate of the ruling Nationalist party, Nasry Asfura, mayor of the country’s capital Tegucigalpa, has 33.9%. election agency said Monday.

Castro, the wife of a former president ousted in a coup, claims to be a democratic socialist and heads a coalition of opposition groups eager to see a shift in power in the country. Central America with nearly 10 million people.

Her victory would end more than a decade of rule by the National Right party. Its incumbent president, Juan Orlando Hernández, has been accused by US prosecutors of being involved in drug trafficking.

“Today the people did justice, we turned our backs on authoritarianism,” Castro told excited supporters on Sunday night. “We will form a government of reconciliation, a government of peace and a government of justice.”

Castro’s Libre party was formed after protests in 2009 after the military ousted and exiled her husband, Manuel Zelaya, an ally of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. Her supporters have rejected proposals that she wants to form a hardline leftist government.

Honduras has the highest poverty rate in Central America, according to international Bank, and has one of the highest murder rates in the world. That has led to mass emigration, mainly to the US.

During this financial year, nearly 320,000 Hondurans came into contact with US law enforcement at the southern border, or more than 3% of the country’s population.

Campaign and last until Sunday the vote was tense, with memories of a controversial 2017 election that led to widespread fraud allegations and protests violently suppressed by security forces. At least 29 people have been killed in election-related violence this year.

Hernández, who first took office in 2014, has been designated by prosecutors as an alleged accomplice in a US drug trafficking case in which his brother was jailed this year. He has not been charged and has denied the charges.

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