TEGUCIGALPA – Honduras’ President Juan Orlando Hernandez was sworn in for a second term in office on Saturday, two months after winning re-election in balloting that was marred by widespread fraud allegations.
“I promise to be faithful to the republic, to comply with and ensure compliance with the constitution and the law,” Hernandez, who first took office in 2013, said during the inauguration ceremony.
The 49-year-old conservative head of state was sworn in at 9:30 am at the National Stadium of Tegucigalpa, where the president of the National Congress, Mauricio Oliva, placed the presidential sash around his shoulders for the second time.
Hernandez took office Saturday even though the leftist Opposition Alliance Against the Dictatorship, whose candidate Salvador Nasralla narrowly lost the one-round Nov. 26 election after initially leading the vote count, refuses to accept the outcome of the balloting.
The Washington DC-based Organization of American States also concluded after an investigation that the vote was fraught with irregularities and called for a new election.
Thousands in the crowd waved the ruling National Party’s flag during the ceremony at the National Stadium, where strict security measures were in place.
An hour before Hernandez was sworn in, police and soldiers used tear gas to disperse a demonstration on Tegucigalpa’s east side that was headed by Nasralla and the Opposition Alliance’s general coordinator, former President Manuel Zelaya.
The demonstrators, who chanted “fuera JOH” (Get out, JOH), were dispersed after advancing a few meters in the direction of the National Stadium.