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Honduras waits for results amid election fraud claims

November 29, 2017

Rival claims of victory in the Central American state's presidential elections are being joined with allegations of fraud. The slow count has been noted by EU election observers as a final result is still two days away.

Election materials in Honduras
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/M. Castillo

Both the challenger Salvador Nasralla and incumbent President Juan Orlando Hernandez have claimed victory in Sunday's presidential election.

The length of time being taken to count the votes and the lack of announcements from the country's electoral court have added to the tension.

Hernandez again claimed on Tuesday he had won, and refused to concede. He told his supporters they should wait for final results. "Nobody can call it an irreversible trend," he said, "Not even 60 percent of the ballots are counted."

The 64-year-old TV host-turned-politician Nasralla accused his rival of fraud on Tuesday: "He's fabricating (the results)," Nasralla told AFP in an interview. "He controls the media. He's going to have the result sheets he wants validated and change the will of the people."

Opposition candidate Salvador Nasralla
Opposition candidate Salvador Nasralla Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo/F. Antonio

Electoral court announces delay

David Matamoros, head of the electoral court, said Tuesday that there were still 2.4 million ballots to process and final results would not be announced until Thursday. The court interrupted its live broadcast to say the rest of the ballots would be brought to the capital from 400 remote areas by military trucks to be counted. 

"It is hoped that they arrive in the next few hours to begin immediate processing," he said.

"It is urgent that the results be disclosed," said Marisa Matias, head of the European Union observation mission in Honduras said on Tuesday. "The communication from authorities with their people must be more fluid."

With 57 percent of the votes counted early Monday, Nasralla led by five percentage points and on Tuesday, the election authority posted new results on its website: 44.4 percent for Nasralla to 40.5 percent for Hernandez with just over 61 percent of votes counted.

By late Tuesday afternoon, preliminary results from about 63 percent of the votes maintained Nasralla's four-point lead over Hernandez.

Nasralla's political alliance accused the court of favoring the Hernandez government claiming it "is
no longer a guarantee of democratic and transparent elections due to the fact that it lacks independence and impartiality."

President Juan Orlando Hernandez
President Juan Orlando HernandezImage: picture-alliance/AP Photo/M. Castillo

EU calls for more information

While the EU electoral observation mission in Honduras said the vote had been generally peaceful and results were being processed in front of party representatives, it noted the electoral court had made fewer announcements of preliminary results than in the last elections in  2013.

In their initial report, the EU observers said that the electoral court was not generally seen as neutral because new opposition parties had little or no representation.

Hernandez's conservative National Party controls the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government. 

Nasralla said former-President Manuel Zelaya would be an influential person in his government and that Zelaya's wife Xiomara Castro would serve as his vice-president. She was a presidential candidate in 2013 but lost to Hernandez.

In 2009, Zelaya was deposed as president after more than three years in power when he was detained by the military and sent to Costa Rica.

jm/kl (EFE, AP, AFP)