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Honduras election court declares winner in presidential vote amid fraud claims

Honduras election court declares winner in presidential vote amid fraud claims
From CBC - December 17, 2017

President Juan Orlando Hernandez was declared the winner Sunday of Honduras' disputed election after three weeks of uncertainty and unrest in which at least 17 people died in protests amid the opposition's allegations of vote fraud.

Electoral court president David Matamoros made the announcement, 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 runner-up Salvador Nasralla, who well before the announcement had challenged the result and said he would not recognize it.

There were reports of nighttime demonstrations on main boulevards in Tegucigalpa, the capital, and other cities, and Nasralla's party called for more protests Monday.

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

'Serious doubts persist about the results'

Earlier in the day Nasralla travelled to Washington to present what he called "numerous" examples of evidence of alleged fraud. He said he planned to meet with officials from the Organization of American States, 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. He added that he was "very optimistic" because "the people do not endorse fraud."

Former president Manuel Zelaya, a Nasralla ally, called for civil disobedience from the population and for the armed forces to recognize Nasralla.

"May God take us having made our confessions because today the people will defend in the streets the victory that it obtained at the ballot box," Zelaya said.

OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro said via Twitter shortly before the announcement that election observers concluded "serious doubts persist about the results." He asked that no "irresponsible pronouncements" be made before observers could make definitive reports.

The first results reported by the electoral court before dawn the day after the Nov. 26 election showed Nasralla with a significant lead over Hernandez with nearly 60 per cent of the vote counted.

'Respect the majority will of the people'

@manuelzr

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