Home Global Elections Honduran Election Sparks Worries of Unrest: WSJ

Honduran Election Sparks Worries of Unrest: WSJ

Honduran Election Sparks Worries of Unrest: WSJ
Polls suggest that Xiomara Castro de Zelaya, greeting supporters in Santa Barbara, is leading the Honduran presidential vote. PHOTO: ORLANDO SIERRA/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES Courtesy of The Wall Street Journal.

Hondurans are voting Sunday in a tense presidential election that pits a ruling party dogged by allegations of corruption against the wife of a controversial former leftist president deposed by the military.

U.S. officials fear that the election could touch off violence and instability that would prompt further migration by Hondurans to the U.S. The outcome could also determine whether the small Central American nation continues to recognize Taiwan or switches allegiance to China, as promised by the leading leftist candidate.

Pre-election polls and many observers predict leftist Xiomara Castro de Zelaya and her Libre party will beat Nasry Asfura, the mayor of Honduras’s capital of Tegucigalpa and ruling National Party candidate. Ms. Castro is the wife of Mel Zelaya, a controversial Honduran president who was ousted by the military in 2009. If Ms. Castro wins, she would be Honduras’s first female president.

The U.S. and many Hondurans worry about a repeat of post-electoral violence that followed a disputed 2017 presidential vote, when President Juan Orlando Hernández, then running for a second term, lagged behind in the vote count against his rival.

He ended up winning narrowly after electoral authorities unexpectedly suspended the count for 36 hours, citing technical problems. Violent protests churned the country for weeks, with at least 22 people killed by security forces, according to the United Nations.

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