A left-right coalition led by a flamboyant TV host took a surprise lead in the Honduran presidential election, initial results showed on Monday, upsetting forecasts that the crime-fighting, U.S.-allied incumbent would comfortably win. With 57 percent of ballot boxes counted, Salvador Nasralla had an almost 5 point lead with 45 percent, the first results showed, when they were released nearly 10 hours after voting ended. “I am the new president-elect of Honduras,” Nasralla, 64, wrote on Twitter after the results were announced.
Nasralla, who helms the Opposition Alliance Against the Dictatorship, had 45.17 percent of the vote, while the National Party’s Juan Orlando Hernandez, the incumbent, had 40.21 percent, according to the country’s election tribunal.
A victory for Nasralla would be a blow for the United States, which sees Hernandez as a reliable ally in tackling drug trafficking, gangs and migration. The United States has longstanding military ties to Honduras and few ideological allies among the current crop of Central American presidents.