RULING PARTY LOSES CLOSE RACE IN HONDURAS

Rafael Callejas, a US-trained agronomist who plans to turn Honduras into an open market economy, claimed victory early Monday in close-fought presidential elections held Sunday. ``The nation demands a government that responds to the need for change and for social justice,'' Mr. Callejas told cheering supporters at party headquarters.

Based on unofficial preliminary results, Callejas was ahead with 48.7 percent of the vote to 46.3 percent for his opponent, Carlos Flores of the ruling Liberal party with 34 percent of the vote counted.

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