TEGUCIGALPA – The armed forces began distributing materials on Monday for next week’s general elections in Honduras, where President Juan Orlando Hernandez is seeking re-election amid opposition claims that the move is illegal.
“These five containers carry the hopes of a people,” Supreme Electoral Council (TSE) president David Matamoros said in a press conference.
The first five containers filled with ballots and other election materials were sent to the Caribbean provinces of Colon and Atlantida; the northern province of Yoro; and the western provinces of Copan and Ocotepeque.
The trucks hauling the containers are being guarded by army troops and National Police officers, Matamoros said.
The last province to receive election materials will be Francisco Morazan, where the capital, Tegucigalpa, is located, the TSE chief said.
Armed forces joint command chief Gen. Francisco Alvarez said Hondurans would “freely” elect their leaders next Sunday.
More than 6 million voters are eligible to cast ballots in the general elections, in which 10 political parties are fielding candidates.
The constitution does not allow presidential re-election, but a Supreme Court ruling in May 2015 opened the way for Hernandez to seek another term.
The leading presidential candidates are Hernandez, of the National Party, who won the 2013 elections; Luis Zelaya, of the Liberal Party; and Salvador Nasralla, who is the leader of a coalition that opposes the current president’s re-election.
Six other candidates will also be on the ballot.
The Central American nation’s three vice presidential slots; 128 National Assembly seats; 20 Central American Parliament seats; and 298 mayoralties will also be up for grabs in next Sunday’s general elections.