Honduras opposition demands full vote recount


Honduras opposition demands full vote recount

Image copyright AFP
Image caption The leader of the Opposition Alliance against the Dictatorship, former President Manuel Zelaya, called for a complete recount.

The opposition in Honduras has called for a full vote recount in presidential elections it says were manipulated to favour President Juan Orlando Hernández.

The Electoral Tribunal had already agreed to an earlier opposition demand for a partial recount.

The opposition candidate, Salvador Nasralla, had been set for victory when the tally unaccountably stopped.

President Hernandez then went into the lead, sparking days of street protests.

The Honduran government is facing mounting pressure to accept further recounts after a police rebellion and criticism from international observer missions of voting irregularities.

Hundreds of members of the Honduran riot police force known as Cobras had refused to carry out orders to enforce a night-time curfew on Monday.

The curfew was imposed in the wake of a bitterly disputed presidential poll.

About 200 Cobras gathered at the police headquarters and announced they were no longer willing to confront protesters, arguing that it amounted to "taking sides" in the political battle between Mr Nasralla and President Hernández.

"We are rebelling. We call on all the police nationally to act with their conscience," one masked officer told Reuters news agency.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Protesters thanked the Cobras for "joining the just fight of the people"

Reports said police in other cities had also joined their Cobra colleagues in the strike.

Earlier, election monitors from the regional body, the Organization of American States (OAS), said that "irregularities, errors and systematic problems" with the presidential election on 26 November meant they could not be certain of the result.

The head of the observer mission, Jorge Quiroga, had also urged the Honduran authorities to carry out a wider rechecking of ballots.

Electoral authorities counted about 6% of the votes again on Monday and agreed a day later to look at ballots from 5,173 polling stations – nearly a third of the total.

OAS observers said that the problem had been "the ballots had not been transmitted on the night of the election, and a recount of tallies shows inconsistencies."

But after the Supreme Electoral Tribunal agreed to the wider recount, the leader of the opposition alliance, former president Manuel Zelaya, demanded a full run through the votes.

President Hernández has called for "brotherhood, for sanity, for national unity".

The electoral tribunal website suggested that with 99.98% of the votes counted, President Hernández had a lead of 1.6 percentage points over Mr Nasralla.

Image copyright AFP/Reuters
Image caption 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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