Honduran leftist holds big lead ahead of vote, poised to make history

by Reuters
Wednesday, 27 October 2021 22:32 GMT

TEGUCIGALPA, Oct 27 (Reuters) - Leftist presidential hopeful Xiomara Castro has surged to the front of the pack ahead of next month's election in Honduras, a opinion poll released on Wednesday showed, after the former first lady won the backing of former competitors https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/honduran-opposition-unites-behind-candidate-president-major-shift-2021-10-13.

If she can secure more votes than any other candidate on Nov. 28, the 62-year-old Castro will become the Central American nation's first female president.

The telephone poll by the Center for Democratic Studies (CESPAD) research institute gave opposition candidate Castro 38% support, while ruling party pick Nasry Asfura came in second with 21%.

Another 30% were either undecided or do not plan to vote, according to the survey of 1,726 voting-age adults from Oct. 12-20 with a 2% margin of error.

Asfura, 63, is a conservative businessman and two-term mayor of the capital Tegucigalpa, while Castro is the wife of former leftist President Manuel Zelaya, who was removed from office in 2009 following a bitter clash with opponents who accused him of seeking to change the constitution.

The CESPAD poll is the first survey after Castro's leftist Libre party joined forces earlier this month with the National Opposition Union party (UNO), which had been backing popular television host Salvador Nasralla for president.

Prior to the Libre-UNO political tie-up, a September poll https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/honduran-presidential-hopeful-asfura-holds-narrow-lead-new-poll-2021-09-10 showed Asfura with a narrow lead of 21% support, followed by Castro and Nasralla each with 18%.

If elected, Castro has pledged to decriminalise abortion in cases of rape, risk to the mother's health or malformation of the fetus, establish relations with mainland China as well as refinance some $13 billion in debt. She has also said she would form a new anti-corruption commission with the help of the United Nations.

Castro was Libre's 2013 presidential standard-bearer, when she lost by about 9% to outgoing President Juan Orlando Hernandez. (Reporting by Gustavo Palencia; Writing by David Alire Garcia; Editing by Karishma Singh)

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