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Honduran president favoured to win November election - poll

Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez, who is running to be the presidential candidate for the ruling Partido Nacional (National Party), gives a speech to supporters after early primary elections in Tegucigalpa, Honduras March 12, 2017. REUTERS/Jorge Cabrera

TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) - Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez, who is seeking an unprecedented second consecutive term in office, is the favourite to win the November election, an opinion poll showed on Tuesday.

Hernandez, of the conservative National Party, polled 36 percent support, double the 18 percent of his nearest rival Luis Zelaya, an academic running for the centre-right Liberal Party, according to a CID/Gallup poll in local newspaper La Prensa.

The president was barred from seeking re-election by the constitution until the Supreme Court overturned the ban in 2015. The ruling came six years after a military coup in ousted leftist president Manuel Zelaya following his own efforts to reverse the re-election ban via referendum.

Manuel Zelaya’s wife, Xiomara Castro, of the leftist Liberty and Refoundation Party (LIBRE) was third in the poll, garnering 12 percent support, with independent Salvador Nasralla, a centre-right political television show host, on 11 percent.

Once saddled with the distinction of being the most murderous country in the world, Honduras has reduced homicides under Hernandez, helping the 48-year-old defy fears he wants to tighten his hold on power in the Central American nation.

Voters also elect a new Congress in November.

The poll showed the president’s National Party leading, with support of 36 percent, unchanged from a January survey. It was followed by the Liberal Party with 22 percent, an improvement of seven percentage points from January.

The survey was conducted among 1,224 voters between May 2-9 with a margin of error of 2.82 percent, the paper said.

Reporting by Gustavo Palencia; Editing by Miral Fahmy