Tags: honduras | election | crime

Honduras Votes for President as Drug Violence Crimps Growth

Sunday, 24 Nov 2013 09:39 AM

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras — Hondurans choose a new president and Congress today as the world’s highest rate of violent crime crimps economic growth in the country four years after a military coup ousted former President Manuel Zelaya.

Polls show the race in a statistical tie between the ruling National Party’s Juan Orlando Hernandez, 45, and Zelaya’s wife, Xiomara Castro, who heads the newly formed Libre party. Both candidates have vowed to improve security after a surge in murders fueled by drug gangs linked to Mexican cartels. Polls opened at 7 a.m. local time and will close at 5 p.m.

Castro, 54, is seeking to break a century-long grip on the presidential palace by the country’s two traditional parties. She has tapped into frustration from the coup, during which she led protests to have her husband returned from exile. Hernandez led the national assembly when Zelaya was ousted for backing a referendum to change the constitution.

In the eight-candidate race, no party is expected to win a majority in the legislature.

“It’s going to be difficult for whoever wins to govern,” said Geoff Thale, director of the Washington Office on Latin America.

Bordered by Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala, Honduras has a murder rate of more than 80 per 100,000 inhabitants, the highest in the world, according to the United Nations. The U.S. State Department estimated that last year about 90 percent of all cocaine smuggling flights departing South America for the U.S. first land in Honduras, where illegal airstrips abound in poorly patrolled parts of the country.

The government plans to deploy 14,000 soldiers and police to safeguard the process, while almost 750 international observers will monitor the vote. Current President Porfirio Lobo is barred from seeking re-election and whoever gets the most votes wins. There is no second round.

Economic growth in the $19 billion economy has slowed to an average 3.2 percent per year since the 2009 coup, compared with a 5.7 percent average in the four years before, according to the International Monetary Fund.

The final opinion poll last month showed a statistical tie between Hernandez, with 28 percent support, and Castro at 27 percent. The Liberal Party’s Mauricio Villeda, son of a former president, was third with 17 percent support. The Oct. 9-15 survey by CID-Gallup had a margin of error of 2.5 percentage points.

Investors wary of Zelaya’s former alliance with late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez have fueled a rally in Honduran bonds since September as polls showed Hernandez gaining on Castro, who led earlier this year.

 

© Copyright 2017 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

 
1Like our page
2Share
TheAmericas
Hondurans choose a new president and Congress today as the world’s highest rate of violent crime crimps economic growth in the country four years after a military coup ousted former President Manuel Zelaya.
honduras,election,crime
420
2013-39-24
Sunday, 24 Nov 2013 09:39 AM
Newsmax Inc.
 
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved