[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
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.

Poverty

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.


SEE ALSO:
Nine held over Honduras massacre
27 Dec 04 |  Americas
Gang linked to Honduras massacre
24 Dec 04 |  Americas
Guards accused over Honduras fire
18 May 04 |  Americas
Combating El Salvador's gangs
20 Mar 04 |  Americas
Country profile: Honduras
16 Nov 04 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Honduras
23 Sep 04 |  Country profiles


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific