Honduras’ ruling party candidate concedes presidential race

The candidate from Honduras’ ruling party conceded Tuesday that opposition candidate Xiomara Castro won Sunday’s presidential election.

Tegucigalpa Mayor Nasry Asfura of the National Party said in a statement Tuesday that he had personally congratulated Castro, despite only about half of the voting tallies having been counted. He was trailing by about 354,000 votes.

With 52% of the tallies counted, Castro had 53% support to Asfura’s 34%, according to the National Electoral Council. The council has 30 days from the election to declare a winner.

Asfura said he met with Castro and her family.

"Now I want to say it publicly," Asfura said. "That I congratulate her for her victory and as president elect, I hope that God illuminates and guides her so that her administration does the best for the benefit of all of us Hondurans, to achieve that development and the desires for democracy."

Asfura’s recognition of the outcome was a relief to many Hondurans who had feared another contested election after a debacle in 2017 led to protests that left 23 people dead.

Castro rode a wave of popular discontent with 12 years of National Party governance, which peaked in the second term of outgoing President Juan Orlando Hernández.

Expectations of a Castro victory drove thousands into the streets of Tegucigalpa Sunday in celebration. On Monday, the capital’s streets were quiet as if it were a holiday and Hondurans exhaled in relief that the election had not taken a violent turn.