Honduras elections: President Hernandez hoping for second term


Honduras elections: President Hernandez hoping for second term

Image copyright EPA
Image caption President Orlando Hernandez enjoys a good rapport with the US administration

Hondurans have gone to the polls in a presidential election in which the present incumbent, Juan Orlando Hernandez, is seeking a second mandate.

Polls suggest he is set to benefit from a 2015 Supreme Court ruling which overturned a constitutional ban on re-election.

His main rival is television host Salvador Nasralla, the leader of a broad left-right coalition of parties.

Six million voters are also electing members of congress and mayors.

The opposition has denounced Mr Hernandez's bid for the presidency, saying the Supreme Court does not have the power to overrule the 1982 constitution and allow his re-election.

Mr Hernandez has succeeded in lowering the murder rate in one of the world's most violent countries.

He also conducted a purge against corrupt police officers and created a new militarised police force of about 3,000 strong.

Revamped new maximum-security prisons have helped the government regain control over some jails from inmates.

But opposition groups have linked Mr Hernandez with an enormous corruption scandal within the public health and social security systems, alleging some of the money went into his 2013 presidential campaign.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Salvador Nasralla has built his support among those disenchanted by business-friendly Honduran politics

They also allege his government has become increasingly authoritarian, with a new anti-terrorism law making it a crime to march in protest.

The law opens journalists to the charge of helping terrorists if they report on a demonstration.

Mr Nasralla has promised to end years of poverty, violence and corruption.

He has pledged to ask the United Nations to set up an anti-corruption body, similar to one operating in neighbouring Guatemala, to investigate and bring charges in corruption cases.

His Opposition Alliance Against the Dictatorship has proposed a referendum on how the current constitution should be rewritten, either by the Congress or a national assembly.

It also wants a referendum on stripping the powers of the Supreme Court, which it accuses of being obedient to Mr Hernandez.

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