Tegucigalpa, Honduras — The candidate of Honduras’ ruling party admitted on Tuesday that opposition candidate Xiomara Castro won the presidential election on Sunday.
Tegucigalpa Mayor Nasri Asafura of the National Party said in a statement on Tuesday that he had personally congratulated Castro while only half of the votes had been counted. He was trailing by about 354,000 votes.
According to the National Electoral Council, with a count of 52%, Castro had 53% support for Asafura’s 34%. The council has 30 days from the election to declare the winner.
Asafura said he has met with Castro and his family.
“Now I want to say it publicly,” Asafura said. “That I congratulate him on his victory and as the President-elect, I hope that God illuminates and guides him so that his administration can achieve the development and democracy that we all desire, for the benefit of Honduran.” Do the best you can.”
Asafura’s recognition of the result was a relief to many Hondurans, who feared another election after a debacle in 2017 that left 23 people dead.
Castro sparked a wave of popular discontent with the National Party’s 12-year rule, which peaked in the second term of outgoing President Juan Orlando Hernández.
Expectations of Castro’s victory drove thousands of people into the streets of Tegucigalpa in celebration on Sunday. On Monday, the streets of the capital were quiet as if it were a holiday, and Hondurasians heaved a sigh of relief that the election had not turned violent.