Ms. de Leon leads in Honduras vote for new president, see full results

Ms. de Leon seeks to end the current government’s record of eight consecutive years of economic recession, followed by massive job cuts that have plunged thousands of people into destitution. Honduras voted on Friday…

Ms. de Leon leads in Honduras vote for new president, see full results

Ms. de Leon seeks to end the current government’s record of eight consecutive years of economic recession, followed by massive job cuts that have plunged thousands of people into destitution.

Honduras voted on Friday to install a new president, picking a socialist leftist to succeed the less-than-popular president of the past eight years with low support ratings.

Emilio Castro Sanchez, a former foreign minister who ran as candidate for the Party of the Future, emerged the clear winner in the 6-day election, with 70.1 percent of the votes counted as of 12:04 p.m. PST, the electoral authority said.

Analysts have said Ms. de Leon was most likely to win, since she polled slightly higher than Mr. Castro.

The congress is expected to confirm Ms. de Leon’s victory as early as Saturday.

Ms. de Leon, 49, said she was ready to lead the nation of 9 million people after a bruising two-hour race in which she spent long hours waiting in queues to vote.

“My gratitude to the voters, and today to the newly elected president of the country. We will work for the good of our country,” she said on her Twitter account.

“Today, we turn the page on the corrupt political parties and rise to the challenge of overcoming the chronic chronic poverty.”

She was backed by her alliance’s closest political rivals, including Otto Perez Molina, the former president accused by the International Criminal Court of crimes against humanity while he headed the armed forces.

Mr. Perez has denied the charges.

Mr. Castro was runner-up in 2006 presidential election and placed third in 2012 vote. He had an unsuccessful presidential bid in 2009.

“I’m now focused on the result, congratulations to my team and the people of Honduras. Solidarity,” he said in a tweet.

The president-elect, originally from the town of Santa Barbara de Yoro in the Sierra Blanca region, has a medical degree and a degree in international relations from Harvard University.

Unlike her left-wing rivals, she has demonstrated business acumen and is seen as having a levelheaded manner. She serves on several government bodies and is a member of the two dominant parties, including the Libre Party she leads.

Honduras, Central America’s second-poorest country, was battered by a natural disaster and a brutal drug war in recent years and is fighting to revive its economy.

Its population is under half of the total of 23 million people.

Her opponents have warned that the democratically elected Mr. Perez is poised to become a caretaker president until the final results are finalized in the coming weeks.

Mr. Perez said he would stand aside in a strategic move to extend Ms. de Leon’s rule and leave the door open for both men to be positioned for a face-off in the next election.

Politicians’ ballots have been disqualified ahead of the vote because they are behind in the vote count, Secretary General of the National Election Council Luis Pena told reporters.

Ms. de Leon will become the second female president in Honduras’ history, and only the second woman in the Americas to hold the office.

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