TEGUCIGALPA – President Juan Orlando Hernandez was declared the winner on Monday of the general elections in Honduras following a special recount.
The 49-year-old Hernandez, of the governing National Party, won 42.98 percent of the vote, edging Opposition Alliance against the Dictatorship candidate Salvador Nasralla, who garnered 41.39 percent, with 99.89 percent of the vote counted, the latest official figures show.
Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) president David Matamoros symbolically concluded the recount at 5:00 am.
The final vote count took place amid a state of emergency declared on Friday, under which a curfew has been imposed between 6:00 pm and 6:00 am.
Matamoros thanked the dozens of foreign observers, including European Union and Organization of American States representatives, who took part in the recount.
The EU observer mission, however, held a press conference hours later to express its support for an opposition request to have a full recount.
“Our understanding is that to guarantee the transparency of this (electoral) process and guarantee that the vote of the Honduran people is respected, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal should have total flexibility in accepting the requests of the parties,” said the mission’s head, Eurodeputy Marisa Matias.
The opposition alleges that “fraud” involving thousands of ballots prevented Nasralla from winning the presidency.
Matamoros’s announcement Monday came after a partial recount of 1,000 voting precincts showed irregularities.
The TSE chief said talks would be held with the opposition to discuss its demands.
Candidates have until Wednesday to challenge the results, but the deadline could be extended due to the delay in the recount, Matamoros said.
Hondurans went to the polls on Nov. 26, but the announcement of a winner was delayed a week.
Hernandez, who won the 2013 presidential election, and Nasralla both claimed victory on election night.
The president sought re-election despite opposition claims that the move was illegal.
The constitution does not allow presidential re-election, but a Supreme Court ruling in May 2015 opened the way for Hernandez to seek another term.
Nationwide protests led by the opposition over alleged election fraud led the government to declare a state of emergency.