Tegucigalpa, Nov 30 (EFE).- The ruling National Party of Honduras Tuesday conceded defeat in the presidential elections, paving the way for the leftist candidate, Xiomara Castro, to become the first woman president of the South American nation.
Nasry Asfura, the presidential candidate of the ruling party, congratulated the “president-elect” Castro even as the vote count of Sunday’s election was far from over.
Castro, 62, of the left-wing Libre Party, was ahead of Asfura with a commanding 20-point lead that could end 12 years of National Party rule.
Castro is the wife of former president Manuel Zelaya, ousted in a coup in 2009.
The National Electoral Council said Castro had 53 percent of the votes and Asfura 34 percent, even as 48 percent of the tallies were still uncounted.
The ruling party candidate said he had met with Castro and her family to congratulate them before he “publicly” conceded the defeat.
The United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken congratulated Castro on her “historic victory as Honduras’ first female president.”
“We look forward to working with the next government of Honduras,” Blinken said in a statement.
“We congratulate Hondurans for the high voter turnout, peaceful participation, and active civil society engagement that marked this election, signaling an enduring commitment to the democratic process.”
He said the US and Honduras enjoyed a long-standing relationship grounded in shared values, commerce, culture, and family ties.
Blinken assured that the US would continue to support Honduras “in strengthening its democratic institutions, promoting economic growth, and fighting corruption and transnational crime.”
The election panel has 30 days after the voting to issue a definitive ballot tally to confirm Castro as the new president-elect.
A team of experts set up by Castro met the private sector on Tuesday to discuss the economic, energy, and social development of the country.
The Honduran Private Business Council tweeted that it recommended to her economic team that she promote “a new education policy, increase transparency, combat corruption and generate inclusive economic growth in Honduras.”
More than 68 percent of the 5.1 million eligible voters participated in the Sunday election for president, three vice presidents, 128 lawmakers for the local parliament, 20 Central American Parliament legislators, and 298 mayors. EFE