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Honduras’ next president sworn in amid uncertainty

TEGUCIGALPA, HONDURAS (AP) – Xiomara Castro sworned in yesterday as Honduras’ first female president, facing high expectations to turn around the deeply troubled country amid uncertainty about whether an unfolding legislative crisis will allow her the support she needs.

Relatively smooth elections and a healthy margin of victory last November 28 came as a relief, but political manoeuvring in the run-up to Castro’s inauguration has muddled the outlook and distracted from what was to be a hopeful new beginning after the two terms of President Juan Orlando Hernández.

In the days when Castro was supposed to be rolling out her Cabinet selections, Honduras has been engulfed by a dispute over who will lead the newly elected Congress. Two congressional leadership teams have been selected – neither legitimately according to experts – and their standoff threatens legislative paralysis at a time that Castro desperately needs to quickly get to work addressing Honduras’ problems.

Elected lawmakers from Castro’s own Liberty and Refoundation Party backed one of their own to be the new legislative body’s president today rather than support Castro’s choice, which had been agreed with her vice president to win his party’s support.

Neither group backed down leading to surreal simultaneous legislative sessions on Tuesday.

Vendor hawks flags promoting President-elect Xiomara Castro outside the National Stadium in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. PHOTO: AP
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