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HONDURAS
Ruling party wins elections
Latinamerica Press
11/29/2013
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Official preliminary results show Juan Orlando Hernández, of ruling National Party, as winner of elections.

The Supreme Electoral Court labeled as “irreversible” the tendency towards the victory of government’s candidate Juan Orlando Hernández, of right-wing National Party, in the Nov. 24 elections. Out of 67 percent of counted votes Hernández obtained 34 percent, followed by opposition candidate Xiomara Castro of left-wing Liberty and Refoundation Party (LIBRE), gaining 29 percent.

Eight candidates participated in the elections. Mauricio Villeda of the Liberal Party came in third with 20.7 percent, next was Salvador Nasralla of the Anticorruption Party, with 15.6 percent. The other four candidates obtained in total less than 0.7 percent of the votes.

Castro is married to deposed president Manuel Zelaya (2006-2009) who refused to accept the results alleging fraud. Opinion polls prior to elections pointed to a technical tie between Hernández and Castro.

“We will defend the results [proving] the triumph and the victory we gained at the polls and if it is necessary [we will do so] in the streets, we will take to the streets to defend them,” said Zelaya in a press conference when finding out about the results. According to Zelaya, exit polls showed Castro as the winner.

Hernández on his part celebrated the results. “Thank you my God and thank you Honduran people for this victory!” he said in front of his supporters. “Honduras voted for peace and reconciliation. The voice of the people is the voice of God.”

More than 5.3 million voters went to the polls in order to elect the next president for a four year term which will begin on Jan. 27, 2014. Furthermore, 128 members of parliament and 298 mayors were elected.

One of the main problems which the next president should face is the elevated level of violence which makes Honduras, with 8.5 million inhabitants, the country with the highest number of homicides in the world, with 96.1 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime data.

The Observatory of Violence of the National Autonomous University of Honduras documented 7,172 homicides in 2012, which means that 20 violent deaths occur daily in the country. In October, the Military Police of Public Order started to operate after the Congress presided by Hernández approved the creation of the body. This force is dedicated to intelligence activities in order to fight organized crime.

During the campaign Hernández, driving force behind this police unit responsible for public security, announced: “The Military Police of Public Order will be a key factor in the fight against crime during my government. The idea is to get to 5,000 policemen in the four years of my term of office.”
—Latinamerica Press.


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