Honduras election: Fresh delays after opposition demands recount


Supporters of Honduran presidential candidate Salvador Nasralla clash with security forces in Tegucigalpa, on December 1, 2017Image copyright
AFP

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Supporters of opposition leader Salvador Nasralla clashed with police in Tegucigalpa

An expected announcement on the winner of disputed presidential elections in Honduras has been hit by fresh delays.

Electoral officials shelved the announcement, due late on Friday, when main opposition contender Salvador Nasralla demanded a recount of votes from more than 5,000 ballot boxes.

Results from last Sunday’s vote had already been badly delayed amid opposition allegations of fraud.

Violent demonstrations have left one person dead and 20 injured.

Riot police fired tear gas at angry opposition supporters in the capital Tegucigalpa on Friday, near the centre where the results were due to be announced.

Elsewhere, protesters blocked major road and set vehicles alight.

Image copyright
Reuters

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Opposition supporters claim President Hernández is trying to steal the election

Electoral officials had been due to publish results from last Sunday’s election at 21:00 on Friday (03:00 GMT Saturday).

At the beginning of the week Mr Nasralla, whose supporters are deeply suspicious of the tribunal that counts the ballots, had established a lead of five percentage points.

But with more than 90% of ballots reportedly counted, incumbent President Juan Orlando Hernández moved ahead of his rival.

Mr Nasralla accused the authorities of manipulating the results.

Tensions eased temporarily on Wednesday when both candidates signed a document vowing to respect the final result after every disputed vote had been scrutinised.

But another pause in counting – attributed by the electoral tribunal to a computer glitch – led to Mr Nasralla saying a few hours later that the document “had no validity”.

Distrust over the count is partly due to the fact that the tribunal is appointed by Congress, which is controlled by Mr Hernández’s National Party, and partly due to the sudden reversal of Mr Nasralla’s initial lead.

There has also been criticism of the slow pace of the count, which came to a 36-hour halt after the first partial results were released on Monday.


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AFP/Reuters

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Salvador Nasralla (left) is challenging Juan Orlando Hernández for the presidency

Salvador Nasralla

  • 64-year-old former TV presenter and sports journalist
  • Heads the Opposition Alliance Against the Dictatorship, a coalition of parties from the left and the right
  • His parents are of Lebanese descent
  • Ran for the presidency in 2013 but lost to Juan Orlando Hernández
  • Has campaigned on a promise to battle corruption

Juan Orlando Hernández

  • 49-year-old lawyer
  • Heads the right-wing National Alliance
  • Is the 15th of 17 children, two of his siblings are also in politics
  • Is the first Honduran president to run for a second term after the supreme court lifted a ban on re-election
  • Says that if elected, he will continue fighting Honduras’s influential criminal gangs


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