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  HOME | Central America

Honduran High Court Rejects Challenge to Presidential Vote

TEGUCIGALPA – Honduras’ Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected the center-left Libre party’s challenge to the result of the Nov. 24 presidential election, won by the candidate of the ruling right-wing National Party.

The motion was dismissed without consideration, Chief Justice Jorge Rivera told reporters, offering no explanation of the court’s decision.

The National Party’s Juan Orlando Hernandez finished first in the crowded field, taking 36.89 percent of the vote, compared with 28.77 percent for Libre candidate and former Honduran first lady Xiomara Castro, according to the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, or TSE.

Libre, led by ousted President Mel Zelaya, approached the Supreme Court after the TSE dismissed the party’s official complaint alleging election fraud.

The TSE refused even to examine the 3,604 precinct tallies Libre presented as evidence of fraud, Zelaya – who is Castro’s husband – said earlier this month.

“We won’t deny the victory of Juan Orlando, but we will categorize it as a questionable victory and a partial victory,” Zelaya told Efe Tuesday after learning of the Supreme Court decision.

Libre, Zelaya said by telephone from his home province of Olancho, will conduct “a constructive opposition inside Congress,” where the party will hold 37 seats, behind the National Party’s 48.

Zelaya’s party also won 31 mayoral races in the Nov. 24 balloting.

The Supreme Court’s refusal to consider the merits of Libre’s motion indicates the judges “don’t want to help Juan Orlando demonstrate that the elections were transparent,” Zelaya said. “There is no desire to dispel the doubts and suspicions.”

Many governments and international bodies, including the United States and the European Union, recognized Hernandez as president-elect after the TSE rejected Libre’s complaint.

Honduras’ current head of state, Porfirio Lobo, was elected in November 2009 in a process marred by repression, violence and media censorship.

Fewer than half of eligible voters cast ballots in that election, which was run by the regime installed after the June 28 military coup against Zelaya.

Leaders and supporters of the coup continue to control the main levers of power in Honduras, the world’s most dangerous country.

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