So there was an election today in Honduras. Results are preliminary but it looks clear that the winner is Juan Orlando Hernández, the candidate of the ruling National Party. Of the two traditional political parties, the National Party is the right wing one; the Liberal Party is the left wing one, but the candidate they fielded, Mauricio Villeda, was not considered Hernandez' main competition as he seemed to come across rather weak. The politics of Honduras has been somewhat upended in the last four years; partly as a result of the removal of Manuel Zelaya by the Supreme Court and the Armed forces due to his apparent attempt to amend the constitution to allow himself to run for a second term. But also due to the ongoing drug violence and corruption that is impacting the lives of every citizen of Honduras.
A political party had been formed by a very popular sportscaster, Salvador Nasralla, with anti-corruption as it's main theme. He had generated some real excitement when he entered politics, but his campaign seemed half-hearted and he did not live up to his electoral potential. He's also rumored to be gay and while this is quite possibly just a smear by his opponents, such things never help.
But the biggest threat was Xiomara Castro, the wife of deposed president Zelaya, who was running as the head of a new left-wing party. She led the polls for much of the campaign (and in fact has declared victory, despite being several points behind in the results so far). The real trouble is that she was so obviously a stalking horse for Zelaya and while he has a sizable following, there's no question that more people in Honduras hate him than love him. Fair or not, he gets a large portion of the blame for Honduras' current economic woes. The outgoing president, Porforio Lobo had let Mr. Zelaya back in the country and he was allowed to re-enter politics but as a past president, he was banned from running for a second term. Clearly, enough people in Honduras didn't want to see him back in the halls of power, choosing instead to vote for a candidate who is widely considered to be something of a corrupt strong-man. It's quote a comeback for Mr. Hernandez as he was in 4th place in the polls not very long ago.
The congress is also up for election and here the position is more muddled. While Mr. Nasralla probably has not had much in the way of coattails for his party, there's no question that Ms. Castro has and the National Party will not have a majority of seats. At the very least, Mr. Hernandez will have to negotiate with the Liberal Party to get things past in the legislature.
Honduras has a lot of problems, but their biggest right now has to do with the large amount of cocaine that is transported through the country into the United States. I doubt Mr. Hernandez law and order tactics are going to make much of a dent - the amount of money involved is tremendous and it's just too easy to bribe people to look the other way. The only thing that would change the game is if the US ended it's ridiculous 'war on drugs' but that's not going to happen anytime soon. But all the same, I shudder to think of the chaos that would have resulted from a Castro/Zelaya victory. Had I been in Honduras, I would have voted for Nasralla, but between Castro and Hernandez, there's no question I would have wished for the later.