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

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TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) - Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez on Sunday claimed victory in his party's primary to be the candidate in November's presidential election.

With just 9.6 percent of the votes counted, the country's electoral tribunal said Hernandez, 48, had won 92.9 percent of the votes so far, to be the conservative National Party candidate, with the rest going to his rival Roberto Castillo.

Castillo conceded defeat on Sunday after the preliminary results were announced, saying he would support the re-election of Hernandez, a highly controversial issue in Honduras.

Former university rector Luis Zelaya was ahead in the vote to be the opposition Liberal Party candidate with 56.54 percent of the vote with 12.3 percent of the total counted, followed by former Central Bank President Gabriela Nunez.

The leftist Liberal Party, led by former president Manuel Zelaya, was on course to choose his wife Xiomara Castro as its candidate, who had 94.7 percent of the votes with 12.1 percent counted.

President Hernandez, a close ally of the United States, had promised to maintain a tough policy against organised crime which has helped bring down the homicide rate, despite criticism from human rights activists.

(Reporting by Gustavo Palencia; Editing by Michael Perry)

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