No Results Yet in Honduras Election
By admin December 1, 2017

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Amid contested presidential election results in Honduras, tensions are mounting as protesters angrily take to the street. It has been almost a week since Sunday’s attempted election and the electoral commission has still not yet declared a winner. Incumbent Juan Orlando Hernandez is accused of attempting to hold onto the presidency through illegal meddling in Sunday’s election. Hernandez leads the right-wing National Party.

Opposition candidate Salvador Nasrella was seemingly positioned to secure a victory in Sunday’s election as results on Monday allotted a five-point lead to the opposition. Nasrella is the head the Opposition Alliance against Dictatorship. The party began from a grassroots organization that began as opposition effort to the government instated following the coup in 1992. Nasrella is a former executive of  Pepsi and has also been a popular TV journalist.

On Thursday, four days after the election, protestors in the county’s violently clashed with security forces over the delays in the presidential decision. At least one man was reportedly left dead and many others were injured, given the police’s use of tear gas. Protesters were throwing rocks and burning tires. Increased security forces have been deployed by the president and increasingly residents fear that the repression reminiscent of the 2009 coup will resurface. More stringent treatment of protesters is allowable, as a change in the criminal law was enacted that enables protests to be seen as acts of terrorism.

Honduras first held democratic elections in 1980. This is the first election since then in which the election commission has not released early results or projected winner. Despite this, Nasrella claimed an early victory, given his early lead in the first half of the vote count. The National Party then began to claim that there were delays in the vote count from rural regions, though no technical reason was attributed to such delays. The election commission later announced this same sentiment, indicating possible collusion and lack of independent electoral commission. Votes were polled and electronically submitted following the close of voting on Sunday night. A test run of the computer system revealed no issues. On Wednesday the electoral commission claimed that the computer system was not working for a period of 5 hours. Though Nasrella and Hernandez both signed an agreement in which they would not contest the election results, Nasrella withdrew from the agreement on Wednesday. The election tribunal magistrate called for an independent audit of the election process.

Nasrella said that the protests would continue and called for a recount in the presence of international independent observers. Nasrella criticized the international community for its’ failure to take a more active role in ensuring fair elections. A human rights leader in Honduras said that the current election commission was not credible and that it was necessary for the international community to audit the elections in order to ensure that the National Party did not continue in power.

Contested elections are immensely problematic as they call into question both the legitimacy and credibly of the elections commissions which oversee them as well as grant power and legitimacy to opposition to lead often times violent protesters.

Further Reading:

Honduras election: protesters clash with police as opposition cries foul

Honduras election: Violent clashes ahead of final result

Political Unrest Grips Honduras After Disputed Election

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