Honduran election commission declares Hernández winner of presidential race

By Ray Downs  |  Dec. 18, 2017 at 12:15 AM
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Dec. 17 (UPI) -- The Honduran electoral commission on Sunday declared President Juan Orlando Hernández the winner of the country's highly contested presidential election race.

The commission said Hernández beat opposition candidate Salvador Nasralla by about 50,000 votes when Hondurans went to the polls on Nov. 26. But the commission's verdict is unlikely to be accepted easily as Nasralla's supporters and many outside observers have suspected wrongdoing by the incumbent after fraud and irregularities were reported on election day, resulting in protests and clashes throughout the country in the days after.

Luis Almagro, the Secretary General of the organization of American States, of which Honduras is a member, hesitated to accept the commission's results.

"Lack of certainty leads me to call for all to refrain from irresponsible statements until presentation of final report by #OAS Electoral Mission in Honduras," he tweeted.

Shortly after the commission's decision was made public, Nasralla, a well-known TV personality in Honduras before he made a bid for the presidency, posted a video to Facebook in which he told his supporters that he is on his way to Washington, D.C. to speak with the OAS and potentially challenge the commission's decision.

"The fight continues and will continue," he said.

But according to the New York Times, Hernández, a close U.S. ally, might be prepared to take on any challenge from the OAS. His top adviser, Ebal Diaz, said Almagro was merely"generating more violence."

"You have been irresponsible, allowing a member of your team to scheme with" Nasralla "to try and steal the election," Diaz said.

Former Honduran president Manuel Zelaya, who backed Nasralla, wrote on Twitter that the people don't accept Hernández as the president and there will be immediate protests in all public places.

"They're violating the will of the people," he wrote.

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