““Whoever wins is going to have an uphill struggle to heal the wounds that have divided Hondurans,” says Eric L. Olson, a Central America policy expert at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, DC.
With 54 percent of the vote counted this morning, the electoral authority showed Mr. Hernández from the National Party leading by six percentage points, with about 34 percent support. Castro had about 28 percent support. After a relatively smooth election day, with few irregularities reported, it was a tense night in the capital as both sides announced victory in front of supporters. Castro -- of the newly created Libre party -- has refused to back down, pledging to take legal action as supporters talked of staging protests.
With a glut of new candidates and no runoff, the next president will win with only a third of the vote. The combination of a president not elected by the majority of Hondurans and a fractured new congress could make it hard for this Central American nation to overcome its many challenges, including a soaring murder rate, an increase in poverty, and weakened and corrupt institutions. “It will be difficult, not impossible but very difficult, to develop a consensus around a reform agenda that Honduras so desperately needs,” Mr. Olson says.
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