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Former coup general launches Honduras presidential campaign

MYT 11:10:02 PM

TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) - Former Honduran armed forces chief Romeo Vasquez, who in 2009 led the coup that ousted President Manuel Zelaya, on Sunday launched a presidential campaign, saying he will restore order and security to the troubled Central American country.

Vasquez, who until now has been running the country's phone company, will stand as a candidate for the right-leaning opposition Patriotic Alliance party in the elections in November, he said at an event in the Honduran capital.

Honduras' Army Chief and Military Chief of Staff, General Romeo Vasquez is seen after the inauguration ceremony of the first session of the new congress in Tegucigalpa January 25, 2010. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido
Honduras' Army Chief and Military Chief of Staff, General Romeo Vasquez is seen after the inauguration ceremony of the first session of the new congress in Tegucigalpa January 25, 2010. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

"We will fight hard to bring order and security to this country, combating corruption and impunity so we can attract jobs and investment," he told journalists.

Mexican and Colombian drug cartels have expanded their operations into Honduras. The country now has the world's highest murder rate with 87 killings per 100,000 people, according to the United Nations.

In the election, Vasquez will face the wife of Zelaya, Xiomara Castro, a candidate for the leftist Liberty and Refoundation party.

(Reporting by Gustavo Palencia; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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