Latin America & Caribbean

Honduras holds general election amid tight security

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionThe BBC's Will Grant reports from a polling station in the capital

Tight security is in place for elections in Honduras to choose a president, MPs and local mayors.

Opinions polls point to a close presidential race between the two main candidates - Conservative Juan Orlando Hernandez and Xiomara Castro.

Mrs Castro is the wife of ex-President Manuel Zelaya, who was removed from office in a coup in 2009.

Honduras is one of the region's poorest states. It also has the world's highest murder rates, averaging 20 a day.

Much of it is blamed on gang violence and drug traffickers.

The BBC's Will Grant in Tegucigalpa says the violence has been one of the main issues of the election campaign, along with the high levels of poverty.

Nearly 30,000 police and soldiers are being deployed to ensure security.

Zelaya factor

Xiomara Castro, 54, is standing for a newly-formed party called Libre.

A win would see her become the country's first woman president.

However, she dismissed suggestions by some that she might be taking orders from her husband, saying "definitely I am the one who makes the decisions", AFP reported.

The other main candidate is from the ruling National Party, Juan Orlando Hernandez.

He was until recently the president of the national congress.

Mr Hernandez, 45, openly supported the 2009 coup, and blames the Zelaya government for many of the country's ills.

Some correspondents say the polls give the two main presidential contenders a statistical tie, raising fears of a disputed result that could produce more instability and protests.

A margin of just one vote is needed for a win - there is no run-off election. An electoral tribunal decides whether a recount is necessary, AP reports.

More on this story