Honduras has elected its first woman president, Xiomara Castro, a leftist opposition candidate who defeated the conservative National Party that had been in power for 12 years.
Castro, a former first lady, gained victory on Tuesday Nov. 30 when the ruling party conceded defeat two days after the election.
With just over half of the votes counted, Castro was leading with 53% compared to the National Party candidate Nasry Asfura’s 34%, according to the National Electoral Council.
Asfura, the conservative mayor of the capital Tegucigalpa, said he had personally congratulated Castro on her win.
“For 12 years the people resisted, and those 12 years were not in vain,” Castro said as she declared victory on Sunday, the Guardian reported. “God takes time but doesn’t forget. Today the people have made justice.”
The 62-year-old ran on a campaign to “pull Honduras out of the abyss we have been buried in by neoliberalism, a narco-dictator and corruption.”
She has also proposed easing Honduras’ abortion ban, which is one of the strictest in the world, under limited circumstances, according to the Guardian.
Her win brings an end to the National Party’s 12-year rule, which was “shaped by pervasive corruption, dismantling of democratic institutions and accusations of links with drug cartels,” according to the New York Times.
Thousands of people poured onto the streets the day after the election to celebrate Castro’s lead, shooting fireworks and chanting “away you go” to the departing President Juan Orlando Hernández, who was deeply unpopular, according to the New York Times.
For the past four years, Hernández and National party members have been facing allegations of corruption and drug trafficking, which they have denied.
Castro, whose leftist husband Manuel Zelaya was the president from 2006 to 2009, ran for president in 2013 and 2017 after Zelaya was removed in a coup.
She had led the movement resisting the coup that removed her husband, joining thousands of people in protests to call for his return – a movement that formed the basis for the Libre party.
The electoral council has 30 days from the election to declare a winner, and Castro is expected to take office in late January.