Honduras officials to hand-count final votes


Honduras officials to hand-count final votes

The Associated Press
A supporter of opposition presidential candidate Salvador Nasralla throws a rock at police near the institute where election ballots are stored in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017. Protests are growing as incumbent President Juan Orlando Hernandez emerged with a growing lead for re-election following a reported computer glitch that shut down vote counting for several hours. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

Honduras' electoral court has finished counting nearly 95 percent of the vote boxes from last Sunday's presidential election and was to begin a hand count of 1,031 other boxes that presented "inconsistencies" on Friday.

Incumbent President Juan Orlando Hernandez held a lead of more than 46,000 votes over challenger Salvador Nasralla before the last-stage count. It was not immediately clear how many votes could be at play in the uncounted boxes.

Electoral court president David Matamoros said late Thursday that representatives of the political parties would be present for the vote counts and that no announcements would be made until there is a final result.

In a statement, the court also said any suggestion of wrongdoing in its operations is false and it lamented the increasing violence in the streets.

National Police spokesman Jair Meza said 12 people had been wounded in street clashes between police and protesters. As the wait for election results has dragged on rock-wielding protesters have increasingly taken to the streets against riot police armed with tear gas, batons and water cannons.

Miguel Osorio, spokesman for the University School Hospital in Tegucigalpa, said Friday that doctors there had treated 10 people for gunshot wounds since protests began. Four had already been released.

Meza, the police spokesman, said numerous businesses were also damaged and looted in the capital and San Pedro Sula. Groups of demonstrators also continued blocking highways in various parts of the country.

Both Nasralla and Hernandez have declared themselves the winner of the election and their parties have urged their supporters to defend the vote in the street.

In the past day, Nasralla and Hernandez have urged calm and warned their supporters to not be provoked into violence.

In an audio message sent to supporters, Hernandez said "the way we're going, I know that we are going very well."

Rodolfo Cortes, a Nasralla supporter, said "what's happening in Honduras is a small demonstration that Hondurans don't accept the impositions of Hernandez."

"Honduras finds itself in a very delicate emergency situation," said Bertha Oliva, coordinator of the Committee of Disappeared Relatives.

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