Ruling party candidate Juan Hernandez is set to become the next president of Honduras, according to reports emanating from the Central American country. With most of the votes counted, Hernandez was way ahead of his leftist rival Xiomara Castro, the wife of ousted former leader Manuel Zelaya.
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 a 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 has 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.
Opposition candidate Castro has refused to accept the results, alleging massive electoral fraud. But, according to Reuters, the U.S. ambassador to Honduras and the head of the European Union’s election observers have dismissed such allegations and are now urging the political parties to respect the results.
Honduras is the biggest coffee exporter in Central America, but foreign investment has declined dramatically over the past decade in the face of growing violence. Hernandez has vowed to curb the violence in much the same way that Colombia has done.
“Annual growth is expected to slow to below 3 percent this year, from 3.3 percent in 2012, while the fiscal deficit is tipped to exceed 7 percent of gross domestic product (GDP),” Reuters said.