Honduras passes law to stop drug cash entering political campaigns

October 20, 2016 10:17 PM EDT

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TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) - Honduras' Congress on Thursday approved a law to prevent drug trafficking money being used to finance political campaigns in the poor Central American nation blighted by gang violence.

The law, which was approved by two-thirds of the 128 lawmakers, establishes limits on campaign spending and a ceiling on the amounts that can be privately donated to political parties.

The new law, which also creates transparency mechanisms and punishments ranging from bureaucratic fine to the cancellation of an election if illicit funding is established, will come into force in a few days.

The specter of drug cartel funding has long hung over politics in Honduras, which has one of the highest murder rates in the world thanks to a deadly wave of drug gang violence.

After facing a wave of anti-graft protests, Honduran President Juan Hernandez said last year that his 2013 presidential campaign took money from companies linked to one of the worst corruption scandals in the country's history.

However, he said he and his National Party were unaware from where the 3 million lempiras ($132,743) came.

(Reporting by Gustavo Palencia; Editing by Enrique Pretel and Michael Perry)



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