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Businessman Leads in Presidential Election

November 26, 2001|From Times Wire Reports

A businessman touting a "zero tolerance" anti-crime plan appeared headed for victory in Honduras' presidential vote over an ex-teacher who promised better education.

The first official tallies--with 1.5% of ballots counted--showed National Party candidate Ricardo Maduro winning with 48.7%, to 47% for rival Rafael Pineda Ponce of the ruling Liberal Party. However, a sample count of paper vote tallies at 7% of precincts by the Televicentro network showed Maduro winning by a much wider margin, as did exit polls.

Cheering, horn-honking caravans of Maduro supporters celebrated in the capital, Tegucigalpa, waving blue National banners. Maduro declared victory, saying, "The people voted for a profound reform."

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