Hondurans on Sunday elected a new president whose first challenge will be defending his legitimacy to the world and ending a crisis over a June coup that has isolated one of Latin America's poorest countries.
Porfirio Lobo and Elvin Santos, two prosperous businessmen from the political old guard, are the front-runners. No official results had been released by late Sunday, but Channel 5 television said its exit poll indicated Lobo was leading with 55 percent of the vote, trailed by Santos with 33 percent. HRN radio reported similar results from its exit poll.
But the candidates' campaigns have been overshadowed by the debate over whether Hondurans should vote at all in an election largely shunned by international monitors.
The dispute has split Western Hemisphere countries, and voter turnout could determine how widely the next government is recognized. Rivals sides offered widely different estimates of turnout in subdued voting.