More than a decade after her husband was removed from office by the military, Castro de Zelaya would be the first female president in Honduras
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TEGUCIGALPA, HONDURAS - NOVEMBER 28: Xiomara Castro, Presidential Candidate of the Libertad y Refundacion (Libre) Party, speaks at a press conference on November 28, 2021 in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. According to the National Electoral Council, Castro received 53,44% of the votes and the candidate of the ruling National Party, Nasry Asfura received 33.8% with over 16% of the votes counted. Hondurans elected the successor of Juan Orlando Hernandez, as well as deputies to congress and municipal mayors. The three main parties in contention are National, Liberal and Free, which seek to reach the presidency of the Central American country. (Photo by Inti Ocon/Getty Images)
Credit: Inti Ocon/Getty

Honduras is on track to elect its first female president.

Xiomara Castro de Zelaya, an opposition candidate whose husband was ousted from power 12 years ago, leads in the vote tally following an election in the Central American country on Sunday.

Although her rivals in the National Party have not conceded the election, thousands of Castro de Zelaya supporters filled the streets around the country in celebration of her apparent landslide victory, according to The New York Times.

With a 20-point lead over the National Party candidate, Tegucigalpa Mayor Nasry Asfura, Castro de Zelaya has reportedly claimed victory and has received congratulations via tweet from the country's chamber of commerce.

Xiomara Castro Wife of Honduran Former President Manuel Zelaya Participates in a March to Commemorate the Third Anniversary of the Coup D´?t Against His Housband´s Government in Tegucigalpa Honduras 28 June 2012 Zelaya Coordinator of Frente Nacional De Resistencia Popular (fnrp) Promotes His Wife As Presidency Candidate of Libertad Y Refundacion Party Epa/gustavo Amador Honduras Tegucigalpa Honduras Zelaya - Jun 2012
Credit: Gustavo Amador/EPA/Shutterstock

The former first lady — who identifies as a Democratic Socialist — campaigned on cleaning up corruption, a proposed universal basic income for the poorest Honduran families and a pledge to provide jobs at home for would-be migrants, according to the Washington Post.

"Honduras has been described as a narco-state because of the mafia that governs us, and we have also been described as the most corrupt country in Latin America," Castro de Zelaya said recently in a campaign speech, according to the AP. "People of Honduras, now is the time to say enough of the misery, poverty and exclusion that our country suffers."

Castro de Zelaya, 62, has run for office twice before — in 2013 and again four years later — since her husband, former President Manuel Zelaya, was ejected from the presidency and sent into exile in a 2009 coup, the AP reports.

While he was away in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, his wife led protests and became the face of the opposition to the man who defeated her in 2017, Juan Orlando Hernández, and his party.

Honduran Former President Manuel Zelaya (l) and His Wife Xiomara Castro De Zelaya (r) Speak During a Protest of Teachers and Members of the Frente Nacional De Resistencia Popular (fnrp) who Demonstrate Against a New Law Over Special Regions For Development Better Known As 'Model Cities' in Tegucigalpa Honduras 24 January 2013 the Honduran Parliament Aproved the Law on 23 January 2013 the Model Cities Initiative Approved For the First Time in January 2011 by the Honduran Parliament was Declared Unconstitutional in October 2012 by the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court Honduras Tegucigalpa Honduras Protest - Jan 2013
Former Honduran President Manuel Zelaya and Xiomara Castro De Zelaya
| Credit: Gustavo Amador/EPA/Shutterstock

Hernández's victory nearly four years ago was followed by protests, a government-imposed curfew and questions about its legitimacy. Almost two dozen people were killed in the unrest before he was declared the winner, according to the AP.

"Out with war. Out with hate. Out with drug trafficking and organized crime. Out with corruption," Castro de Zelaya told supporters Sunday, the Post reports.

In 2009, Castro de Zelaya's husband was more than three years into his presidency when soldiers entered the presidential palace under darkness, arrested him and flew him to Costa Rica. The Post reports that in recent months, former President Zelaya took on the role of campaign manager for his wife. He is expected to have a prominent role in his wife's administration if her victory is confirmed, the Times reports.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by José Valle/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (12611700a) Xiomara Castro de Zelaya speaks during the closing of her campaign with supporters of the Libertad y Refundacion Party (LIBRE) in the city of San Pedro Sula north of Honduras, 20 November 2021. Honduras will hold presidential elections on 28 November. Campaign closure of Xiomara Castro de Zelaya, San Pedro Sula, Honduras - 21 Nov 2021
Credit: José Valle/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

The stakes are high for the outgoing president. Hernández has been implicated in a federal drug-trafficking case in the U.S. and could face extradition once he is no longer in power and Castro de Zelaya's Libre party holds the presidency. He has denied any wrongdoing.

According to the Post, Castro de Zelaya supporters chanted outside the presidential palace in Tegucigalpa on Sunday night, shouting in unison: "Juanchi, you're off to New York!"