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US Congratulates Honduras' Hernandez on Election Win

Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez salutes military officials during an event with the Honduran Armed Forces in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Dec. 21, 2017.

The United States congratulated incumbent Juan Orlando Hernandez Friday on his victory in Honduras' presidential election — a vote that has been declared irregular and rejected by the opposition.

"We congratulate President Juan Orlando Hernandez on his victory in the November 26 presidential elections, as declared by the Honduran Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE)," U.S. State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a statement.

She added, however, that the close election results and reports of irregularities "underscore the need for a robust national dialogue."

"We call upon the TSE to transparently and fully review any challenges filed by political parties," the statement said.."We urge Honduran citizens or political parties challenging the result to use the avenues provided by Honduran law."

Last week, election authorities in Honduras declared 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.

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.