The Honduran Electoral Tribunal put an end to a week-long political turmoil on Thursday by declaring that the ruling party candidate Juan Orlando Hernandez won last month’s presidential election.
Hernandez’s four-year term begins on January 27 next year. Nevertheless, a large number opposition supporters are still staging protests across the country, with the rival candidate Xiomara Castro accusing the ruling party of “robbing her victory.”
According to the Tribunal, Hernandez defeated Castro by a margin of 250,000 votes, winning almost 36.9% of the vote. Castro, whose husband Manuel Zelaya was ousted as president in 2009, has demanded the election be annulled.
But the US ambassador to Honduras and the head of the European Union’s election observers had dismissed such allegations, urging the political parties to respect the results.
Analysts say Hernandez’s victory will lead to a continuation of the current government’s right-leaning economic policies. Aside from the economy, Hernandez faces the daunting task of ridding the country of drug-related violence that has led to the Central American country being described as the murder capital of the world.
Honduras’ Congress recently approved plans to allow the extradition of gangsters involved in organized crime to the United States and deploy militarized police on the streets to restore a sense of security among citizens.
Honduras is home to just 8.5 million inhabitants but 20 people are killed there every day, mostly in drug-related violence, according to NPR. Hernandez has vowed to curb the violence in much the same way that Colombia has done.