On Sunday the Central American country will live the elections to choose the successor of Juan Orlando Hernández, who led the longest term in history, which closes marked by an investigation in the United States for accusations of ties to drug trafficking. The divisions in the country close the race to two candidates: on the one hand, the ruling party is Nasry Asfura, mayor of Tegucigalpa; on the other, Xiomara Castro, wife of the deposed ex-president Manuel Zelaya.
This Sunday, the people of Honduras will have the opportunity to choose who will be the new president of the nation, in an election that will mark the end of the longest term in the history of the Central American country.
In this framework, there is a strong polarization that reduces the decision to two candidates: the official Nasry Asfura, mayor of Tegucigalpa; and the opposition member Xiomara Castro, spouse of the ousted former president Manuel Zelaya and a staunch detractor of the legitimacy of the Juan Orlando Hernández era.
The conservative Hernández, who sat in the presidential chair in January 2014 waving the flag of the National Party, will leave office eight years later.
The end point of his term will be next January, after being reelected in 2017 despite the fact that the Constitution did not authorize him and after taking refuge in a controversial ruling by the country’s Supreme Court of Justice. Beyond his two presidential cycles (2014-2018 and 2018-2022), Hernández was also head of Parliament between 2010 and 2014, which made him an iconic figure in Honduran politics.
The president reaches his term end wrapped in controversy after being linked to drug trafficking by a federal court in the Southern District of New York. However, he detaches himself from the accusations and blames Honduran drug traffickers who were extradited in his government.
The US justice ties him closely in the case that led to the life sentence – in March 2021 – of his brother ‘Tony’, accused of bringing 185 tons of drugs into the United States.
More than five million Hondurans (the country has about 9.5 million inhabitants) are summoned to the polls to elect a new president from a total of 14 candidates. Three vice presidents will also be elected, 298 municipal mayors, 128 deputies from the local Parliament and 20 from the Central American.
Asfura, the ‘modernist’ mayor of the capital
Nasry Asfura, a long-time leader of the National Party, is the current mayor of Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras. A 63-year-old construction entrepreneur, he characterized himself by carrying out infrastructure works with steel and cement to stimulate the circulation of vehicles, changing the appearance to a more avant-garde one.
Involved in politics since the end of the previous century, his resume holds positions of councilor in Tegucigalpa and minister of the Social Investment Fund, among others. “Work and more work” is his most recurring promise in the current campaign.
However, his Government Plan -at least from the discourse- is deeper and consists of six bastions: ‘Citizen democracy, social peace and transparency’, ‘Economic development, job creation and investment attraction’, ‘Human capital, gender equity, education and health ‘,’ Fiscal responsibility and transparent management of public resources’, ‘infrastructure, housing, water and environment’ and ‘foreign policy’.
Under his management it was characterized by the absence of fanfare to inaugurate works, official ceremonies or speeches. His low profile caused the opposition to accuse him of, if he won, being only a pawn of Hernández.
Despite this, Asfura was targeted by the Public Ministry for alleged money laundering, fraud, embezzlement of public funds and abuse of authority, but this year they ruled out the possibility of taking him to trial. In addition, his name appeared in the publication of the Pandora Papers.
With the call to Hondurans to vote for him and ‘transform the country’, Asfura aims for the presidency and string together the fourth consecutive term for his party.
Castro goes on his third attempt in search of the presidential seat
Xiomara Castro, candidate of the Freedom and Refoundation Party, will have a new participation in elections to be president. She is the wife of Manuel Zelaya, who was overthrown in June 2009 when he promoted constitutional reforms.
The 61-year-old from the capital, a business administrator, had her beginnings leading protests in the streets demanding the reinstatement of her husband in power, something that she did not achieve but that brought her followers.
His first foray into a general election was in 2013, representing the Liberal Party, but fell against the current president Juan Orlando Hernández. However, she alleged fraud and awarded herself an unrealistic victory.
In 2017 he participated again. At the last minute he made an alliance with Salvador Nasralla -president of the Anti-Corruption Party-, but ended up being defeated again and the process ended in confrontations between the two referents.
For these elections, Castro presented himself as the alternative for the construction of a socialist and democratic state, where he underlines the mission of protecting the rights of a sovereign people.
“The government program that I propose advocates changing the obsolete and exhausted system that oppresses us and building participatory democracy,” explained Xiomara Castro on the general guidelines of his platform.