Is a Resolution to Honduras’ Turbulent Elections Anywhere In Sight?

Is a Resolution to Honduras’ Turbulent Elections Anywhere In Sight?
A masked supporter of Honduran presidential candidate Salvador Nasralla at a roadblock set up to protest suspected election fraud, Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Dec. 1, 2017 (AP photo by Rodrigo Abd).

Hondurans went to the polls nearly two weeks ago to elect a new president and a new 128-seat congress, as well as the mayors of 298 municipalities and 20 representatives in the Central American Parliament. They’re still waiting for the winners to be declared.

Now, after days of protests, charges of fraud and results that appeared to swing back and forth, the country’s electoral tribunal says there will be a partial recount of 4,753 ballot boxes, equal to roughly 25 percent of polling places. That’s significant, as it means the authorities are actually opening the ballot boxes, which they never do. The recount, pushed by the Organization of American States, is backed by Honduras’ neighbors. The opposition had been calling for a full, vote-by-vote recount with international auditors and a forensic audit of the tribunal’s computer system.

Shortly after the polls closed on Nov. 26, both President Juan Orlando Hernandez and his main rival, Salvador Nasralla, declared victory. After numerous delays, the country’s electoral tribunal completed the vote count eight days later, claiming that Hernandez won 42.98 percent to Nasralla’s 41.39 percent—a difference of 52,347 votes. But Nasralla’s coalition, known as the Opposition Alliance Against the Dictatorship, claimed that Hernandez’s victory was the result of fraud.

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