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Incumbent Declared Winner of Honduras' Disputed Presidential Election

  • VOA News

Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez speaks to supporters, in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Dec. 7, 2017.

Election authorities in Honduras have declared President Juan Orlando Hernandez the winner of the disputed November 26 election, prompting new allegations of fraud and a fresh round of protests.

The incumbent won a little less than 43 percent of the vote, while leftist challenger Salvador Nasralla took just under 42 percent.

Disputes over last month's vote fueled street protests that killed as many as 20 people.

Nasralla was in Washington Monday to meet with officials from the State Department and the Organization of American States (OAS). He said he was prepared to show them evidence of election irregularities.

Honduran presidential candidate Salvador Nasralla, left, talks to OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro at the OAS headquarters in Washington, Dec. 18, 2017.
Honduran presidential candidate Salvador Nasralla, left, talks to OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro at the OAS headquarters in Washington, Dec. 18, 2017.

"We will seek an international response to help the will of the Honduran people to be respected in order to end the political crisis we face," Nasralla said at the Tegucigalpa airport Sunday.

He has refused to accept the election results.

The OAS, in a statement released Sunday, called for new elections, saying the earlier electoral process "was characterized by irregularities and deficiencies, with very low technical quality and lacking integrity."

The statement also noted what it said was OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro's "explicit and unequivocal call to all parties to avoid violence."

Hernandez has made no public comment on the election authorities' decision. He is in mourning for his 51-year-old sister Hilda, a close adviser, who died in a helicopter crash Saturday.

Honduras has been in limbo for three weeks since the election commission first put Nasralla ahead, suspended the vote counting, then resumed, giving the lead to Hernandez. OAS monitors called the election flawed.

Electoral officials had until December 26 to declare a winner or the entire election would be declared invalid.

Even though the constitution limits Honduran presidents to a single term, Hernandez ran for re-election, arguing the nation's Supreme Court had scrapped the law.

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