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World Marches back Honduras president in drawn-out, contested election

05:50  08 december  2017
05:50  08 december  2017 Source:   afp.com

European observers criticize silence on Honduras election

  European observers criticize silence on Honduras election A European Union electoral observation mission criticized Honduras' electoral court Tuesday for its lack of communication about the results from the weekend presidential election.The team's preliminary reportThe team's preliminary report said that voting Sunday was generally peaceful and that results were being processed in front of party representatives. But it also noted that while the electoral court made five announcements of preliminary results following the 2013 election, it had made just one this time.

Marches back honduras president in drawn - out , contested election Tegucigalpa (AFP) - Thousands of supporters of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez

Thousands of supporters of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez marched on Thursday to back his claim of victory in a strangely drawn - out election that the opposition says was rigged. Nasralla supporters blocked some access roads in the capital to press their candidate's case.

Supporters of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez take part in a march on December 7, 2017 in Tegucigalpa © Provided by AFP Supporters of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez take part in a march on December 7, 2017 in Tegucigalpa

Thousands of supporters of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez marched on Thursday to back his claim of victory in a strangely drawn-out election that the opposition says was rigged.

But his leftwing rival, former TV president Salvador Nasralla, maintained he won the November 26 poll and is demanding a full recount supervised by foreign officials from the Organization of American States or the European Union.

Nasralla supporters blocked some access roads in the capital to press their candidate's case.

Protesters clash with police as Honduras election crisis grows

  Protesters clash with police as Honduras election crisis grows Honduran police fired tear gas at rock-hurling protesters on Thursday after a widely criticized presidential election that has still to produce a clear winner stretched into its fourth day of vote counting.Both President Juan Orlando Hernandez and his rival Salvador Nasralla, a television game show host allied with leftists, claimed victory after Sunday's election. The vote tally at first favored Nasralla, but then swung in favor of the incumbent after hold-ups in the count, fueling talk of irregularities. International concern has grown about the crisis in the Central American nation, which in 2009 saw a military-backed coup. The delays have already sparked unrest, and observers fear they could risk undermining the eventual winner's legitimacy. One of the four magistrates on the Honduran electoral tribunal flagged "serious doubts" about the process on Thursday. Marcos Ramiro Lobo called for an independent external auditor to review the results, but was non-committal on whether there was evidence of electoral fraud. "We can't be sure of one thing or the other," Lobo told Reuters, expressing concern about the vote count breaking down. "What I do know is that serious doubts are being raised." David Matamoros, who chairs the electoral tribunal, said he expected the count to conclude by mid-afternoon on Thursday. However, by 5 p.m. local time (2300 GMT), more than 7 percent of the ballots had not been processed.

Protesters demand a new president and end to a week-long election debacle which has plunged the country into its worst political crisis since 2009 coup.

Honduras National Congress has 128 members (diputados); they serve four-year terms. Honduras elects on national level a head of state – the president – and a legislature. The President of Honduras is elected for a four-year term by the people by a simple majority of valid votes

The country's electoral authority has still not declared a winner, even though the final count was given as 42.98 percent for Hernandez and 41.38 percent for Nasralla. It says it is waiting to see if any appeals are lodged before the end of this month.

Meanwhile, the small Central American nation of 10 million remains under a state of emergency to quell anti-Hernandez protests that turned violent, with at least one death reported.

Police who briefly refused to enforce the state of emergency's nighttime curfew are back on the job after a one-day strike that finished Tuesday. But they say they won't repress legitimate protesters demonstrating against Hernandez.

- Poll irregularities -

"Four more years," yelled some of the supporters backing the president in Tegucigalpa. Media estimates put the crowd size at 10,000 people.

Honduran candidate calls on army to rebel amid disputed vote count

  Honduran candidate calls on army to rebel amid disputed vote count A Honduran TV star turned opposition candidate called on Sunday on the country's military to rebel from enforcing a curfew that was imposed after deadly protests followed last week's disputed presidential vote.Thousands of mostly young demonstrators banged pots and blew shrill horns as they marched through the capital in support of Salvador Nasralla, who accuses the government of trying to steal last week's election. Local TV images showed similar protests in other major cities around the country.

MEXICO CITY — Honduras was on the edge of political turmoil on Thursday, with the opposition candidate accusing vote counters of trying to “steal our victory” in an election whose results are sharply contested .

The main opposition candidate in Honduras ’s contested presidential elections conceded defeat after the U.S. government backed the re- election of President Juan Orlando Hernández, despite calls for a new vote from the Organization of American States because of widespread irregularities.

Some said they wanted Hernandez, 49, to get another term because they saw him as being tough on gangs that are rampant in the country, and because he somewhat rolled back the crime rate.

Hernandez addressed the supporters, telling them he wanted to see "healing" after the election.

International observers have expressed reservations over the poll, which the Organization for American States said was marred by irregularities that cloud the results.

Returns from 1,000 polling stations have been recounted, but that falls far short of the opposition's initial demand for a recount of ballots from at least 5,100 polling stations, later upped to include results from all 18,000 polling stations.

Nasralla, 64, who refuses to recognize the current results, told his supporters that "we want to save Honduras from tyranny."

- US travel warning -

Hernandez's re-election bid was made amid controversy. He and his conservative National Party argued that a Supreme Court ruling in 2015 allowed him to stand again -- despite a constitutional ban on more than one term for presidents.

He had implicit backing from the United States, however, which is pouring millions of dollars into Honduras and neighboring Guatemala and El Salvador to improve security conditions there. Those three countries -- collectively known as Central America's Northern Triangle -- are the biggest source of undocumented migrants heading to the United States.

The US State Department previously said it was monitoring the situation in Honduras very closely.

On Wednesday, it also issued an alert to US citizens to avoid non-essential travel to the country, citing "volatile and dangerous" demonstrations, rioting and looting in the wake of the election.

Kihuen won't launch re-election bid amid sexual harassment allegations .
Rep. Ruben Kihuen (D-Nev.) announced on Saturday that he would not launch a re-election bid amid allegations of sexual assault against him."It is in the best interests of my family and my constituents to complete my term in Congress and not seek re- election," Kihuen told The Las Vegas Review-Journal in a statement.The news comes a day after the House Ethics Committee announced it was pursuing a probe into the allegations against the freshman congressman."I want to state clearly again that I deny the allegations in question," he said.

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