OAS: “Serious questions remain over Honduras election”

President Juan Orlando Hernandez has been declared the winner of Honduras' disputed election

 

 OAS: “Serious questions remain over Honduras election”

 

The Organization of American States has called for new elections in Honduras, hours after President Juan Orlando Hernández was declared the winner. Luis Almagro – the Secretary General of the OAS, an international organization that sent an election observer mission to monitor the Honduran electoral contest – said the process was plagued by irregularities, it had “very low technical quality” and lacked integrity. However, the European Union election observers said the vote recount showed no irregularities, this last stamen has created confusions in the country.

 

The statement came after the electoral court president (TSE), David Matamoros, revealed the winner on Sunday December 17, saying: “We have fulfilled our obligation and we wish for there to be peace in our country.” It follows three weeks of uncertainty and unrest following the 26 November election. That encouraged national protests, in which 22 people were killed, including two police officers, according to a register by the Committee of Detained Disappeared Persons in Honduras.

 

The announcement will likely feed the discontent that has engulfed city centers across Honduras, where popular forces have united with the Opposition Alliance. The opposition has held massive protests while condemning the government of using gangs to terrorize the population and engage in sacking in an attempt to delegitimize the pro Nasralla forces.

 

Supporters of contestant Salvador Nasralla blocked streets and highways around the country Monday after the statement of the TSE with burning tires and rocks. As soon as police and soldiers clear the obstacles, protesters put them back.

 

Universities, banks and some other businesses remained close due to the disturbances in Tegucigalpa. This situation has been constant since November 27. Those who still had to work made their travels on foot.

 

Political analyst Jorge Yllescas says that the clearest solution to the crisis would be a new "totally transparent" election. He speculated that in that scenario it would be difficult for Hernandez to win given the high levels of rejection of his government, and the strong support for Salvador Nasralla.

 

Nasralla traveled to Washington to present several examples of evidence of alleged fraud, and he met Monday December 18 with OAS Secretary-General Luis Almagro. He said he also planned to meet with officials from the U.S. State Department and human rights groups during this week to talk about what can be done by the international community.

 

Interviewed by UneTV during a layover at the Miami airport, Nasralla called Hernandez's re-election illegitimate and said he would ask the OAS to invoke its democratic charter against Honduras. In a video posted on Facebook, Nasralla said it was clear there had been fraud “before, during and after” the election, calling the tribunal’s decision a “desperate move” to support Hernandez.

 

Honduras has been roiled by political instability and violent protests since the votation in November, which initial counts suggested Nasralla had won. The count has been questioned by the two main opposition parties, including the Opposition Alliance Against the Dictatorship, headed by Nasralla, as well as a wide swath of the diplomatic corps.

 

According to the TSE's official ballot count, Hernandez won the November 26 elections with 1,410,888 votes amounting to 42.95 percent of total ballots cast, narrowly beating Nasralla by a razor-thin margin of 1.53 percentage points, a total of 50.446 votes.

 

LatinAmerican Post | Carlos Eduardo Gómez

 

Copy edited by Marcela Peñaloza

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