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Liberals unseat ruling party in Honduran election

By DANIEL ALDER

TEGUCIGALPA -- The opposition Liberal Party has won Honduran general elections by a wide margin, securing the presidency, a majority in Congress and most of the country's mayoralties.

With approximately 80 percent of the votes counted Monday, Liberal Party presidential candidate Carlos Roberto Reina had 52.4 percent compared to 40.7 percent for National Party candidate Oswaldo Ramos Soto.

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Newspaper editorials, politicians and diplomats heralded Sunday's election as an example for Latin America's developing democracies, despite some last-minute irregularities in the voter registration lists.

There were no reports of serious violence on election day and the governing National Party was quick to recognize its defeat and congratulate the victors.

'We are very pleased with the elections,' said U.S. Ambassador William T. Pryce.

'We hoped that they would be free and fair and that the results would be broadly accepted, and that's what happened. I was very impressed with the seriousness of the voters and their pride in their electoral process,' Pryce said.

Sunday's polling was the fourth time Hondurans have held elections since emerging from military rule in 1981.

Preliminary vote projections showed the Liberal Party had also won a majority in the 128-seat Congress and more than half of the country's mayoralties.

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