Honduras president declared election winner; unrest persists

Honduras president declared election winner; unrest persists

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras — Protests erupted across Honduras on Monday following an official declaration that President Juan Orlando Hernandez has won re-election, even as the Organization of American States proposed a re-do of the disputed vote.

The OAS, which sent election observers to the country for the Nov. 26 election, issued a statement saying it was impossible to determine the outcome with enough certainty due to irregularities.

Among the problems it listed were “deliberate human intrusions into the computer system, intentional elimination of digital traces,” opened ballot boxes and “extreme statistical improbability regarding levels of participation within the same department,” combined with the narrow vote differential.

“The only possible path for the winner to be the Honduran people is a new call for general elections. … Respecting democratic values and citizens is the necessary road to safeguard society from death and violence,” the OAS said.

Vice-President Ricardo Alvarez rejected the call for new elections and accused opposition leaders of acting like children.

“The only election will be the one in four years,” he said. “In this country there will be order, mark my words, because we won’t let 20 Hondurans paralyze the country.”

Supporters of challenger Salvador Nasralla blocked streets and highways around the country Monday with burning tires and rocks. As soon as police and soldiers cleared obstacles, protesters put them back.

Universities, banks and some other businesses closed due to the disturbances in Tegucigalpa. People who had to work made their commutes on foot.

Most businesses were closed in the country’s second-biggest city, San Pedro Sula. National Police spokesman Jairo Meza said some businesses there had been looted.

A bus was burned near La Lima about 185 miles (300 kilometres) north of Tegucigalpa.

Textile magnate Adolfo Facusse, not a supporter of the president, said people were frustrated by the electoral court decision.

“We must have new elections,” he said. “That is a good decision, but President Hernandez will have to give in to the public.”

“It’s better to be locked up in our houses,” said Maria Velasquez, a teacher living in Valle de Angeles, a town outside the capital.

Maria Gutierrez, a street vendor blocking the entrance to the Kennedy neighbourhood in south Tegucigalpa with dozens of others, said she wants Hernandez gone.

“We’re not fighting for Nasralla or anyone,” she said. “We fight for our rights.”

At least 17 people have died in violent street clashes since the election.

Electoral tribunal president David Matamoros announced Sunday evening that Hernandez had won the election, saying, “We have fulfilled our obligation (and) we wish for there to be peace in our country.”

According to the court’s official count, Hernandez won with 42.95 per cent to 41.42 for Nasralla, who long ago said he would not accept the result.

There was no immediate public comment by Hernandez, whose sister Hilda Hernandez, a Cabinet minister, died Saturday in a helicopter crash.

Marisa Matias, head of the European Union’s observer mission, said Monday that her team had not validated the election results because that was not its role.

The team also would not recommend any new election. “Because that would be interference,” she said.

The first results reported by the electoral court before dawn the day after the election showed Nasralla with a significant lead over Hernandez with nearly 60 per cent of the vote counted.

But public updates of the count mysteriously stopped for more than a day, and when they resumed, Nasralla’s lead steadily eroded and ultimately reversed in Hernandez’s favour.

The OAS decision to call for new elections seemed based in part on an analysis it requested from Irfan Nooruddin, an elections expert at Georgetown University’s foreign service school.

While Hernandez’s National Party said his late surge in the count was due to slow-arriving returns from rural areas where Hernandez was stronger, Nooruddin found evidence questioning that explanation.

He said Nasralla’s share of the vote began plummeting everywhere — in his strongholds as well as those of the National Party — at essentially the same point in the vote count.

There were also jumps in turnout in the last third of polling stations to report, increases so dramatic that statistically they would be expected to appear fewer than once in 1,000 replications, Nooruddin said.

Nooruddin wrote that he can’t explain the jump in turnout or the National Party’s big gain late in the count. “But put together it is consistent with a hypothesis of tampering with the vote tallies that were counted last.”

“I would reject the proposition that the National Party won the election legitimately,” he said.

Nasralla travelled to Washington to present what he called evidence of fraud, and he met Monday with OAS Secretary-General Luis Almagro. He said he also planned to meet with officials from the U.S. State Department and human rights groups.

Interviewed by UneTV during a layover at the Miami airport, Nasralla called Hernandez’s re-election illegitimate and said he would ask the OAS to invoke its democratic charter against Honduras.

“The declaration by the court is a mockery because it tramples the will of the people,” Nasralla said.

Honduras

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Honduras president declared election winner; unrest persists

Honduras president declared election winner; unrest persists

Just Posted

Whistle Stop Cafe owner Christopher Scott and his sister Melodie pose for a photo at the Mirror restaurant. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Alberta Health Services delivers ‘closure order’ to Mirror restaurant

Alberta Health Services says it has delivered a closure order to a… Continue reading

Flags bearers hold the Canadian flag high during the Flags of Remembrance ceremony in Sylvan Lake in this October file photo. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
New project to pay tribute to Canadians killed in Afghanistan

Flags of Remembrance scheduled for Sept. 11

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Alberta vaccine rollout expanding to front-line health-care workers

More than 240,000 eligible health-care workers can begin booking vaccine appointments starting… Continue reading

File photo
The Red Deer Rebels will have three new assistant coaches when the WHL regular season starts on Friday. Brad Flynn (left), will be on the bench alongside fellow assistant Ryan Colville (right) head coach Brent Sutter (middle). (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Sutter steps down as Red Deer Rebels head coach

Red Deer Rebels Owner, GM and head coach Brent Sutter has stepped… Continue reading

Red Deer-South MLA Jason Stephan is among those who have signed an open letter criticizing the government’s return to stricter health measures. (Advocate file photo).
Updated: Kenney tells UCP caucus COVID-19 dissent OK, breaking health rules means expulsion

15 MLAs released letter on Wednesday critical of new health restrictions

A woman pays her repects at a roadblock in Portapique, N.S. on Wednesday, April 22, 2020. The joint public inquiry in response to the April mass shooting in Nova Scotia has announced a mandate that includes a probe of the RCMP response as well as the role of gender-based violence in the tragedy. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Creating permanent memorial to Nova Scotia mass shooting victims a delicate task

PORTAPIQUE, N.S. — Creating a memorial for those killed in Nova Scotia’s… Continue reading

Conservative leader Erin O'Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 6, 2020. Top Tory leaders of past and present will speak with supporters today about what a conservative economic recovery from COVID-19 could look like. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Erin O’Toole says ‘I didn’t hide who I was’ running for Conservative leader

OTTAWA — Erin O’Toole assured Conservative supporters that he never hid who… Continue reading

Calgary Flames' Johnny Gaudreau, second from left, celebrates his goal with teammates, from left to right, Matthew Tkachuk, Noah Hanifin and Rasmus Andersson, of Sweden, during second period NHL hockey action against the Edmonton Oilers, in Calgary, Alta., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Larry MacDougal
Jacob Markstrom earns shutout as Flames blank Oilers 5-0 in Battle of Alberta

CALGARY — It took Sean Monahan breaking out of his goal-scoring slump… Continue reading

B.C. Premier John Horgan responds to questions during a postelection news conference in Vancouver, on Sunday, October 25, 2020. British Columbia's opposition Liberals and Greens acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented huge challenges for Horgan's government, but they say Monday's throne speech must outline a coherent plan for the province's economic, health, social and environmental future. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP to bring in throne speech in B.C., Opposition wants coherent plan

VICTORIA — British Columbia’s opposition parties acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented… Continue reading

A grizzly bear walks on a treadmill as Dr. Charles Robbins, right, offers treats as rewards at Washington State University's Bear Research, Education, and Conservation Center in this undated handout photo. Grizzly bears seem to favour gently sloping or flat trails like those commonly used by people, which can affect land management practices in wild areas, says an expert who has written a paper on their travel patterns. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Anthony Carnahan *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Grizzly bears prefer walking on gentle slopes at a leisurely pace like humans: study

VANCOUVER — Grizzly bears seem to favour gently sloping or flat trails… Continue reading

FILE - In this July 27, 2020, file photo, nurse Kathe Olmstead prepares a shot that is part of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., in Binghamton, N.Y. Moderna said Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, its COVID-19 shot provides strong protection against the coronavirus that's surging in the U.S. and around the world. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink, File)
The COVID-19 wasteland: searching for clues to the pandemic in the sewers

OTTAWA — When Ottawa Public Health officials are trying to decide whether… Continue reading

Researchers look over a map aboard the Finnish icebreaker MSV Nordica as it sets sail in the North Pacific Ocean toward the Bering Strait to traverse the Arctic's Northwest Passage on July 6, 2017. The Canadian government wants more study on the impacts of banning heavy fuel oil in the Arctic before it signs on to an international agreement to do so. It has been 16 months since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and then U.S. President Barack Obama jointly committed to phase down the use of heavy fuel oils in the Arctic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, David Goldman
‘You cannot claim any more:’ Russia seeks bigger piece of Arctic Ocean seabed

IQALUIT, Nunavut — Russia wants to stretch out imaginary lines on the… Continue reading

The Queen, centre, Prince Philip, right, and Princess Anne relax as they sail to Victoria, B.C., on May 3, 1971 accompanied out of Vancouver harbour by numerous small craft. Prince Philip, the Queen's husband of more than 70 years, passed away at Windsor Castle on Friday, Buckingham Palace announced. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Bill Croke
Andrew: Philip’s death has left ‘huge void’ in queen’s life

LONDON — The death of Prince Philip has left a “huge void”… Continue reading

Most Read