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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 November 2005, 12:29 GMT
Honduras ends election campaign
National Party candidate Porfirio Lobo
Porfirio Lobo belongs to President Maduro's party
Campaigning has ended in Honduras ahead of a presidential election on Sunday.

The front-runners - Porfirio Lobo, of the governing National Party, and Manuel Zelaya, of the Liberals - held their final rallies in Tegucigalpa.

Both candidates promised change and more efforts to fight street crime. Recent opinion polls show that Mr Lobo and Mr Zelaya are tied.

Honduran voters will also elect 298 mayors and 128 deputies to the single-chamber Congress.

Nearly four million voters are registered to cast ballots on Sunday.


One of the main issues in the campaign has been crime by youth gangs known as "maras".

President Ricardo Maduro has amended the penal code, allowing judges to give long sentences to those found guilty of belonging to a gang. However, violence has continued.

Liberal candidate Manuel Zelaya
Polls say that opposition candidate Zelaya and his rival are tied

The authorities blamed a notorious gang, the Mara Salvatrucha, for the massacre of 28 bus passengers in late 2004. Six of those killed were children.

Both candidates also promise to fight poverty in a country where unemployment, malnutrition, poor housing and infant diseases are widespread.

Correspondents say that the campaign has been one of the dirtiest in Honduran history - with both men using hard-hitting advertising and exchanging personal insults.

Under Honduran election rules, campaigning is barred in the five days before voting.

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