TEGUCIGALPA – Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez, running for re-election, pulled ahead of opposition candidate Salvador Nasralla by less than half a percentage point on Wednesday evening with 82.89 percent of the precincts reporting.
Hernandez, with the National Party, currently has 42.21 percent of the votes compared with 42.11 percent for Nasralla, according to the latest figures published on the Web site of the Honduran Supreme Electoral Council, or TSE.
The continuously updated results flipped to Hernandez’s favor on Wednesday evening, although at the 5 pm vote count announcement the two men had been in a technical tie, both at 42.17 percent, after Sunday’s national election.
Even before the first official vote tally was released, which showed Nasralla out in front, both candidates had proclaimed themselves to be the winner of the presidential race after the polls closed on Sunday evening.
Nasralla had been out in front of Hernandez by some 5 percentage points in the vote count since Monday, but on Tuesday the president began to shave down his rival’s advantage, according to official figures.
Meanwhile, both Hernandez and Nasralla promised before the Organization of American States to “calmly” await the official vote count and to “accept” the results.
OAS election observation mission chief Jorge Quiroga said at a Tegucigalpa press conference on Wednesday that the two candidates had separately signed a “declaration for Honduran democracy” calling upon all Hondurans, including the military and their supporters” to calmly await the definitive election results.
Nasaralla’s opposition alliance says that Hernandez’s re-election aim is illegal given that the Honduran Constitution prohibits presidential re-election, but a 2015 judicial ruling left open the possibility for a president to serve multiple terms.
Since the vote, the political groupings backing the two candidates have been sponsoring demonstrations and celebrations in the streets, each claiming victory for their man, but those outpourings of emotion so far have occurred without incident.
Some 6.1 million Hondurans were eligible to vote in Sunday’s election for president, three vice presidents, 128 parliamentary lawmakers, 20 Central American Parliament legislators and 298 mayors.