Latin America

Honduras: Ruling party concedes defeat to Xiomara Castro

Published : December 01, 2021 17:37 IST

Castro’s victory puts an end to 12 years of National Party governance. Photo: Jose Cabezas/REUTERS

The U.S. has congratulated the leftist candidate on the "historic" win that would herald Honduras' first female leader.

The ruling National Party of Honduras on November 30 accepted that leftist candidate Xiomara Castro had won November 28's presidential elections. Castro was the candidate for the Liberty and Refoundation Party (LIBRE). With over half the votes counted, Castro had 53 per cent support compared to her rightwing rival Nasry Asfura's 34 per cent, according to the National Electoral Council.

"I congratulate her for her victory," Asfura said in a statement. "I hope that God illuminates and guides her so that her administration does the best for the benefit of all of us Hondurans, to achieve that development and the desires for democracy.''

What does this victory mean for Honduras?

Asfura’s recognition comes as a relief to many Hondurans who had feared another contested election similar to the 2017 debacle that sparked protests in which 23 people died. Castro’s victory puts an end to 12 years of National Party governance. Popular discontent aimed at this government peaked in the second term of outgoing President Juan Orlando Hernandez, who has been embroiled in a U.S. drug trafficking scandal.

Castro's husband and general coordinator of LIBRE, Manuel Zelaya, was President of Honduras from 2006 to 2009, when his government was ousted in a civilian-military coup. The new Castro government will face major challenges, including an unemployment rate of above 10 per cent and extortion and violence prepetrated by street gangs. Northern Honduras was also devastated by two major hurricanes in 2020.

What did the U.S. say about the Honduras election?

U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said Washington was "looking forward" to working with Castro. "We congratulate Hondurans for the high voter turnout, peaceful participation, and active civil society engagement that marked this election, signaling an enduring commitment to the democratic process," Blinken said.

sdi/rt (AP, Reuters)

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