Honduras wracked by rioting as election results further delayed | News | DW | 02.12.2017
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Honduras wracked by rioting as election results further delayed

Delayed election results and allegations of fraud have plunged Honduras into further uncertainty and raised the specter of violence. Rioting, looting and protests led the country to declare a state of emergency.

Honduras declared a state of emergency on Friday after the country was gripped by a third day of violent protests over delayed and disputed presidential election results. The opposition has continued to declare the election results fraudulent.

"The suspension of constitutional guarantees was approved so that the armed forces and the national police can contain this wave of violence that has engulfed the country," Ebal Diaz, an official for the council of ministers, said on national television.

The government's cabinet chief, Jorge Hernandez, said some constitutional guarantees would be suspended for 10 days to allow security forces to control the situation. The government declared a national curfew from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.

At least one opposition demonstrator was killed on Saturday during clashes with the security forces.

Read more: The faces behind Honduras' election turmoil

Recounts for some ballots

The electoral court said 95 percent of ballots had been counted from Sunday's election, but that 1,031 boxes would be hand counted due to irregularities.

The most recent vote tally had incumbent President Juan Orlando Hernandez with a narrow 1.5 percent lead over opposition candidate Salvador Nasralla. Nasralla had a 5 percent lead on Monday with more than half the votes counted, but he then fell behind when new numbers were announced on Tuesday.

Both Hernandez and Nasralla have claimed victory. The opposition refuses to accept the results and claims electoral fraud.

Honduras

Military and national police clashed with protesters.

New demands

Electoral court president David Matamoros said both parties' representatives would be present alongside international observers to observe the remaining vote recounts.

But the opposition has not sent any representatives and refused to recognize the special count after it issued new demands, including a recount of votes in three of Honduras' 18 departments.

The opposition has claimed that the vote count in the three departments was too high and more than 1,031 ballot boxes were questionable.

Final results will not be announced until all votes are counted, potentially plunging Honduras into a drawn-out political crisis.

Read more: 5 things to know about the divisive elections

Focus on electoral court

Nasralla leads a center-left alliance and is backed by former President Manuel Zelaya, who was ousted in a coup in 2009.

Zelaya said on Thursday that electoral court "crimes" helped tip the vote in Hernandez's favor. Hernandez is controversially standing for a second term, made possible by a 2015 Supreme Court ruling.

Retired Gen. Romeo Vazquez, who led the coup that ousted Zelaya, said the electoral body has helped create a crisis and made voters feel their vote is being manipulated.

"The electoral court is not doing things correctly and things have gotten out of control," he said. "The people believe there was fraud because the court did not make the election results immediately known."

Honduras

Protesters set up barricades and burned tires on roads.

Rioting, looting

The electoral crisis has sparked concern of instability in the Central American country wracked by gang violence.

At least one man has been killed and another 20 people have been injured in clashes between protesters and police in several cities across the country.

Demonstrators have blocked roads, burned tires, rioted and looted.

In a joint statement, the national police and armed forces called for peace and people had a right to protest so long as it was peaceful.

cw/sms (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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