TEGUCIGALPA – The main Honduran media outlets reported that current President Juan Orlando Hernandez won re-election in Sunday’s national balloting on a calm election day with high voter turnout.
According to figures compiled by two national radio stations, Hernandez was determined to be the winner shortly after the polls closed, although releasing surveys and exit polls is prohibited by law in the Central American nation until two hours after the precincts close.
In electoral districts such as Cortes and Olancho provinces, Hernandez received the most votes, according to the press reports.
However, in the southern city of Choluteca a tighter race between Hernandez and opposition candidate Salvador Nasralla was forecast.
Hernandez’s candidacy has been rejected by the opposition according to the argument that the Constitution does not allow presidential re-election, although a 2015 court ruling left that possibility open.
The polls closed officially at 5:00 pm, one hour after the scheduled time due to the presence of voters in line at many precincts.
The first official – albeit preliminary – results are expected about 7:30 pm local time, although the time to make a complete vote count has not been estimated.
Some 6.1 million Hondurans were eligible to vote in Sunday’s general elections, in which 10 political parties fielded candidates.
Also being selected in the balloting were three vice presidents, 128 parliamentary lawmakers, 20 Central American Parliament legislators and 298 mayoralities.
Liberal Party candidate Luis Zelaya, for his part, said after voting in Santa Lucia, a Tegucigalpa suburb, that he expected to beat Hernandez by six or seven percentage points because the president’s candidacy violated the constitution.
“It’s an unequal battle, but we’re moving forward and we’ll do it. Go out and vote, the situation is normal, don’t be afraid,” Zelaya said.
Hernandez won election initially for the National Party in 2013.