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A Tangled Vote Count in Honduras Leads from Tension to Violence

LADB Article ID: 80472
Category/Department: Honduras
Date: 2017-12-07
By: George Rodríguez

The Nov. 26 general elections in Honduras looked problematic from the start, with the incumbent president seeking reelection, an option greenlighted by a much-questioned judicial ruling despite a supposedly iron-clad constitutional ban. An opposition, two-party alliance strongly campaigned against President Juan Orlando Hernández, repeatedly warning about the possibility of a rigged vote to secure his win. But the Tribunal Supremo Electoral (TSE), Honduras’ top elections authority, kept reassuring the public that, unlike the previous election, won by Hernández and the right-wing Partido Nacional (National Party, PN) in 2013, this vote would run smoothly. Nevertheless, Salvador Nasralla, a sports journalist and television host who was the presidential candidate for the center-left Alianza de Oposición Contra la Dictadura (Opposition Alliance Against the Dictatorship), and the rest of the Alianza’s leadership, were skeptical. They still are. When most of the votes were finally in, the TSE showed Hernández climbing to first place, leaving Nasralla in second position by an extremely narrow edge. Another two updates in the following 48 hours secured the president’s position by a widening, albeit still slim, margin.Tension grew, as Nasralla publicly accused TSE president David Matamoros of obeying orders from Hernández, something the TSE chief denied. According to the figures posted on the TSE web page, with all the votes counted, Hernández won the presidential election with 42.98%, closely trailed by Nasralla, with 41.38%––a 1.6-point margin.

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