Can the new government dig out Honduras? | Election News

Tegucigalpa, Honduras- when. . .when The first female president Xiomara Castro of Honduras will take office on January 27. She will face many daunting challenges: restoring the country’s torn democratic system, tackling widespread corruption, and recovering from the COVID-19 -19 and last year Devastating hurricane.

Honduras researcher and activist Leonardo Pineda told Al Jazeera: “We must understand that she is accepting a country that has been completely destroyed and it is not easy to dig out of this pit.”

But most Hondurans clearly believe that she can do this task. As of December 6, about 86% of the votes, Castro of the left-wing Liberal Party won more than half of the votes by 14 percentage points. Her closest rival – Give her a powerful mission and let her make the great changes that many Hondurans want to see.

Victor Carbajal, a 34-year-old Castro supporter, told Al Jazeera at a rally in the capital Tegucigalpa to celebrate her victory: “We believe she can divide us and Pull out from the ruined country.”

In the next 12 years 2009 coup After Castro’s husband Manuel Zelaya was removed from office, successive conservative governments have disrupted social plans, strengthened militarization, and launched systematic attacks on human rights and the environment.

Under the leadership of current President Juan Orlando Hernandez, Hondurans have Escaped a lot In extreme poverty, violence and Disasters caused by climate change – All this has created a sense of despair, especially among the young people in the country.

Allegations of aid from the ruling National Party Drug dealer The robbery of public funds further exacerbated the public frustration, pushing Castro to the president.

Julio Raudales, an economist at the National Autonomous University of Honduras, told Al Jazeera: “The election shows that the current government has to leave, and we begin the process of rebuilding the country.”

Hondurans obviously want to change-but how to achieve this goal will be Castro’s challenge.

Supporters of Xiomara Castro participated in an event called “Victory, Freedom and Reconstruction Carnival” to celebrate her victory in the general election [Fredy Rodriguez/Reuters]

“Reconciliation Government”

In his celebratory speech at the end of last month, Castro promised to “form a government of reconciliation” and “guarantee participation and direct democracy.”

Pineda said that cabinet appointments will be a key indicator of her government’s direction, and pointed out that it is important to observe whether she chooses ministers based on qualifications rather than party interests. He added that the composition of the Congress, which has not yet been finalized, will also determine her success.

According to preliminary statistics, the Liberal Party will have the most parliamentary seats, but Need to ally with other opposition parties Pineda said that to achieve a simple majority, this may make governance more difficult. The government will not be able to appoint new Supreme Court justices and new justice ministers until 2023.

“She will not be able to govern as she wants,” Pineda said, noting that Castro’s choice of simple victories from the beginning might benefit Castro, such as establishing a United Nations in Honduras, as she promised. Supported anti-corruption committee election trajectory. A similar committee operated in Honduras from 2016 to 2020, when the government decided not to extend its mandate after its investigation began threatening powerful allies.

But Carlos Hernández, director of the Honduran non-governmental organization More Just Society Association, said the United Nations may be reluctant to invest resources in the anti-corruption committee, which may be terminated if political will weakens.

“This must be a participatory effort, not just government involvement,” he told Al Jazeera. “It must be built together with other departments so that it can be sustainable.”

According to data from the World Bank, in 2019, about half of Honduras’s population lived on less than US$5.50 a day. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the situation will only worsen [Jose Cabezas/Reuters]

Develop a strategy

In terms of poverty, gender-based violence and a shaky health care system, Castro must also improve the conditions of ordinary Hondurans. According to data from the World Bank, in 2019, about half of the population lived on less than US$5.50 a day, and with the COVID-19 pandemic, economic conditions are estimated to shrink by 9%, so the situation will only worsen.

Castro promised to increase health care spending and improve access to education.

In terms of healthcare, 27-year-old nurse Christopher Rodriguez (Christopher Rodriguez) said he hopes the new government will ensure that all hospitals have basic supplies.He told Al Jazeera: “The government’s handling of the health system and its budget for the COVID-19 emergency have left us a bad impression.” “We hope [Castro] There are better ways to handle things and fulfill her promises. “

In terms of women’s rights, Castro promised to ease the country’s Strictly prohibit abortion And pass legislation to solve the problem of gender violence.

Honduras has the highest rate of killing women in the region, and it needs a “coordinated strategy, drawn up among the different powers of the country to prevent, pay attention to, sanction and compensate” gender violence, Regina Fonseca, director of the Center for Women’s Rights, told Al Jazeera. She expressed optimism that Castro will work towards this goal.

In addition, if Castro can solve the problems faced by the youth of the country, her actions may have an impact on the U.S. border, Pineda said: “If the youth of Honduras have a place to study, they will have a decent job after graduation. The salary is good, why are you leaving?”

Analysts predict that with broad support across the country, Castro will have goodwill for at least a few months, and then citizens will start clamoring for faster results. “The Hondurans gave another opportunity for democracy,” Laudales said. “But everything has a limit.”

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