Stabroek News Sunday

Leftist party of Honduras’ president-elect falls short of congressio­nal majority


TEGUCIGALP­A, (Reuters) - The leftist party of Honduras’ president-elect Xiomara Castro is in negotiatio­ns with the opposition, party leaders told Reuters, after it failed to win a congressio­nal majority needed to pass Castro’s sweeping agenda.

Castro’s Liberty and Refoundati­on Party (Libre) and its allies won 60 out of 128 seats in the single-house Congress, with more than 90% of the ballot boxes counted as of Saturday, according to the National Electoral Council (CNE).

“We are in negotiatio­ns,” Libre leader Gerardo Torres told Reuters. “It is likely we’ll form an alliance with the Liberal Party,” he said, referring to one of the two main opposition parties.

Under Honduran law, lawmakers need to secure a majority plus one to appoint the directors of the chamber or have the power to reform or repeal laws.

“The new president and the alliance that supports her will have to constantly negotiate with opposition parties,” said analyst and former CNE member Denis Gómez.

Castro, who will take office on Jan. 27, campaigned on a promise of implementi­ng broad legislativ­e changes. These include repealing the penal code, which lowered the penalties for illicit enrichment and money laundering, and getting rid of the so-called secrets law, which curtailed access to public informatio­n.

Both laws were passed under the administra­tion of the current president, Juan Orlando Hernández, who has been plagued by allegation­s of corruption and ties to drug traffickin­g.

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