Profile: Honduras' leading presidential candidates

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Honduras holds elections on Sunday to choose a successor to President Porfirio Lobo Sosa, and also vote in congressional representatives and local leaders.

The following are the profiles of the main presidential candidates:

-- Juan Orlando Hernandez, 45 (born on Oct. 28, 1968), is the candidate of the ruling conservative National Party of Honduras. According to recent polls, he leads the campaign with support from 25 percent of the electorate.

A lawyer by training, he graduated from the National Autonomous University of Honduras and has a master's degree in Legislative Administration from the State University of New York.

Hernandez has twice served as deputy representing the department of Lempira (from 2002 to 2006, and from 2010 to 2014). Prior to running for president, he served as president of the National Congress. He also served as general secretary of his party from 2005 to 2009.

Hernandez has pledged to implement social programs to provide housing and benefits for poor households, create 100,000 new jobs, set up a military police corps to fight crime in one of the world's most high-crime countries, and to introduce an Education Law to promote quality education.

-- Xiomara Castro, 54 (born on Sept. 30, 1959), is the candidate of the left-leaning Liberty and Refoundation Party, and wife of former President Manuel Zelaya, who was deposed by a military coup in 2009. Polls show she has some 22 percent of support and a chance to overtake Hernandez.

Castro studied business administration, but did not complete her degree. She has experience in forestry and agriculture business, and gleaned political experience beside her husband. After Zelaya's ouster, she became Coordinator of Women in Resistance.

Some of her key proposals include demilitarizing the country's security apparatus, promoting the autonomy of judicial entities, building an alternative economic model to achieve development, and fighting poverty through social programs.

-- Mauricio Villeda, 65 (born on April 27, 1948), is the candidate of the center-right Liberal Party (LP) and son of Honduras' ex-President Ramon Villeda (1957-1963). Polls show him trailing with 10 percent of support.

Also a lawyer by training, Villeda graduated from the National Autonomous University of Honduras and earned a master's degree in bioethics from Guatemala's Universidad Del Istmo.

He has been a senior LP member, although he has no experience in elected posts. He was an LP presidential candidate in 2008, but stepped down in favor of Elvin Ernesto Santos.

Villeda has run on a campaign platform to promote unity in Honduras, uphold the Constitution, boost investment and support small- and medium-sized enterprises, fight crime, guarantee quality public health services, promote integral education for children and young people, and combat corruption and the waste of public resources.

Distant candidates include Salvador Nasralla of the Anti-Corruption Party, Romeo Vazquez of the Patriotic Alliance, Andres Pavon of the FAPER-Democratic Unification, Orle Solis of the Christian Democracy and Jorge Aguilar Paredes of the Innovation and Unity Party. Endi

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