TEGUCIGALPA - Hondurans went to the polls Sunday with President Juan Orlando Hernandez seeking a second mandate despite a constitutional one-term limit, sparking fears that his bid could usher a crisis in the poverty and crime-wracked country.

An estimated six million people are eligible to vote , electing not just a president but also members of Congress, mayors and members of the Central American parliament. "We hope this will be a civic celebration," said David Matamoros, head of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, in declaring the polls open.

Hernandez's conservative National Party -- which controls the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government -- contends that a 2015 Supreme Court ruling allows his re-election.

The opposition, though, has denounced his bid, saying the court does not have the power to overrule the 1982 constitution.

This small country, in the heart of the "Northern Triangle" of Central America where gangs and poverty reign, has one of the highest murder rates in the world, though that metric has fallen under Hernandez's last four years in office. What credit he claims from that progress is counterbalanced by tensions from a 2009 coup.

That year, then-president Manuel Zelaya was deposed by the armed forces, with backing from the right and from powerful businessmen, for nudging closer to Venezuela's Hugo Chavez.  Zelaya was notably accused of wanting to change the constitution to vie for a second term.