HONDURAN authorities handed President Juan Orlando Hernandez another term of office yesterday, disregarding angry protests against apparent ballot-rigging.
After a count of some three million votes that took a week, Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TES) chief justice David Matamoros said that Mr Hernandez held a lead of 52,000 — 1.6 per cent — over challenger Salvador Nasralla, with only 0.04 per cent of the ballots left to count.
He said eight of 1,031 ballot boxes with claimed “inconsistencies” had not yet been opened.
Mr Nasralla — an ally of former president Manuel Zelaya, who was ousted in an US-backed coup eight years ago — boycotted the count resumed by order of Mr Matamoros in the small hours of yesterday.
The day after the November 26 election, Mr Nasralla was ahead of Mr Hernandez by a 40-45 per cent margin, a lead which Mr Matamoros called “irreversible.”
Liberal candidate Luis Zelaya — no relation of the former president — whose party backed the 2009 coup, conceded to Mr Nasralla last Monday, while the Honduran Private Enterprise Council said the same day that the result should be honoured.
On Sunday, Mr Nasralla told a huge rally in the capital Tegucigalpa that TES justices “are employees of President Hernandez,” who stood for re-election despite being constitutionally barred from doing so.
“The tribunal is not an independent organism and as such is neither credible nor trustworthy for the people,” he said.
Also on Sunday, Mr Zelaya demanded transparency from the TES, demanding to know why it had not recounted all 5,179 ballot boxes in the election.