Honduras: Hondurans vote in controversial presidential election | Al Jazeera

Hondurans voted to choose a new president on Sunday in an election that lays bare the fragility of the Central American country’s democracy eight years after it suffered a military coup. The election is unprecedented, marking the first time a Honduran president seeks re-election. Official results have been delayed, but President Juan Orlando Hernandez of the conservative National Party claimed victory as Salvador Nasralla of the Opposition Alliance Against Dictatorship also claimed to be “winning”. 

Honduras: In upset, opposition takes lead over U.S. ally in Honduras election | Reuters

A left-right coalition led by a flamboyant TV host took a surprise lead in the Honduran presidential election, initial results showed on Monday, upsetting forecasts that the crime-fighting, U.S.-allied incumbent would comfortably win. With 57 percent of ballot boxes counted, Salvador Nasralla had an almost 5 point lead with 45 percent, the first results showed, when they were released nearly 10 hours after voting ended. “I am the new president-elect of Honduras,” Nasralla, 64, wrote on Twitter after the results were announced.

Honduras: Gangs, officials square off in Honduras over campaign access | AFP

Hundreds of police and soldiers fanned out across many of Honduras’ poorest slums on Wednesday after gang members threatened people campaigning for election candidates. With a November 26 general election looming the authorities rolled in in force. They checked IDs while stopping people and cars in poorer areas of the capital Tegucigalpa, the second city San Pedro Sula, the Caribbean port of La Ceiba and other areas. Gangs including one called Barrio 18 have been threatening campaigners ahead of the vote. Among those harassed were people canvassing for President Juan Orlando Hernandez, who is seeking re-election.

Honduras: Anatomy of Election Fraud: Stealing the 2013 Honduran Election in Five Simple Steps | FPIF

After a heavily contested election, Honduras has a new president-elect. The director of the Honduran Electoral Tribunal, David Matamoros, made it so on December 12 when he announced that conservative candidate Juan Orlando Hernandez led the vote count and that his lead was “irreversible.” The bold announcement from Matamoros came after opposition parties launched a barrage of complaints arguing that fraud, violence, and inconsistencies had marred the electoral process significantly enough to affect the final tally. Throngs of supporters of the LIBRE and Anti-Corruption parties marched in the streets to protest the results. After the late November election, popular pressure was intense enough that Matamoros himself stood awkwardly before cameras and announced a vote re-count. But, as so often happens in Honduras, political expediency overtook any pretense of fairness, and Matamoros returned a few days later to announce the final results—recount be damned. The deal was quickly sealed by congratulatory statements, delivered as if on cue, by OAS Chief Jose Manuel Insulza and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

Honduras: Election Authorities Confirm Hernandez is President-Elect | Latin American Herald Tribune

The High Electoral Court (TSE) of Honduras reconfirmed Wednesday that Juan Orlando Hernandez of the governing National Party won the Nov. 24 presidential election and is president-elect despite a complaint filed by the opposition Freedom and Refounding (Libre) party. The TSE “declares … Juan Orlando Hernandez to be elected as constitutional president of the Republic of Honduras for a period of four years starting Jan. 27, 2014,” according to the ruling read Wednesday by the president of the body, David Matamoros. In addition, it declared Ricardo Alvarez, Roxana Guevara and Lorena Herrera to be the country’s three vice presidents-elect.

Honduras: Left seeks annulment of presidential vote results | AFP

The leftist Libre party in Honduras late Friday formally asked election officials to overturn the results of the November 24 presidential election, which their candidate claims to have won. A document formally requesting the annulment was delivered by ex-president Manuel Zelaya, accompanied by his wife, Libre candidate Xiomara Castro. Officials earlier declared conservative Juan Orlando Hernandez the election winner. Zelaya told AFP that the document he submitted included proof of “clear” voter fraud. “It was a well-done fraud,” said Zelaya, who claimed that officials at 2,800 voting stations conspired to throw the election for Hernandez. He insisted that votes were also bought, “because at the other voting stations, all 12,000 of them … Xiomara won.”

Honduras: Can a free and fair election also be fraudulent? | CSMonitor.com

With clouds of tear gas hanging in the air, hundreds of students sheltered themselves behind the National University’s gates two days after the hotly contested presidential election here. The student groups didn’t come out looking for trouble, they say, but to register their disgust with the country’s election system – which had just proclaimed ruling party Congressman Juan Orlando Hernández Honduras’ next president. Many of these youth were among thousands of university students who sacrificed their chance to vote in order to serve as election custodians, running polling centers in far-flung parts of the country. Though none would give his or her full name, citing fears of reprisal, several recalled witnessing signs of fraud, like the buying of votes and polling credentials; voters presenting false IDs; and people handing out gifts on the eve of the Nov. 24 election. “We thought [this election] was going to be different, and it was the same as always,” says a 23-year-old IT student who served as an election volunteer. “What happened is a mockery for us.”

Honduras: Irregularities In Honduran Elections – Analysis | Eurasia Review

On November 24, more than three million Honduran citizens went to the voting booths to select the next president and ruling party that would succeed the government of President Porfirio Lobo. Lobo’s administration has been mired with accusations of corruption and ineffectiveness since its contested election in 2009, just months after a military coup deposed then-president Manuel Zelaya (2006-2009). That very election night, without a full tally of the votes cast, the heads-of-state of Panama, Colombia, and Guatemala congratulated the National Party’s Juan Orlando Hernandez on his presidential victory. Moreover, Lisa Kubiske, U.S. ambassador to Honduras, just before 1 A.M. the following Monday, recognized not only Hernandez’s victory, but also the “transparency” and the “few incidents of violence” during the elections. And, on Monday evening, the U.S. State Department released a short press release commending the “peaceful participation” and “transparent” electoral process. These statements were not only “premature,” as Mark Weisbrot, Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, claimed following election day, but they also paint a portrait of knee-jerk approval for what is now looking like a contested election.

Honduras: The Perils of Democracy: Honduran Election Aftermath | PanAm Post

One week after the general elections in Honduras, an environment of disagreement and uncertainty prevails in the Central American country — one of the poorest, most insecure, and corrupt in the region. The Supreme Electoral Tribunal of this country has already proclaimed a victor: Juan Orlando Hernández of Partido Nacional, who was elected with 36.8 percent of the popular vote. However, in second place, just a mere 250,000 votes away, we have the new socialist party, LIBRE, with Xiomara Castro de Zelaya as the candidate. She is not accepting the results, and LIBRE has denounced electoral fraud and already carried out several peaceful protests. The truly remarkable result of this election, though, is the end of two-party dominance in a country where it prevailed for more than 30 years. This came after the fragmentation of one of the traditional parties, the Partido Liberal de Honduras. With the newly created LIBRE party offshoot in second place, the ideological spectrum of options available to the electorate amplified, and political forces reconfigured. Never in the history of this country has a presidential election been so close or competitive with the results, in both percentage-points and votes counted. As a consequence, the incumbent party’s control of Congress will not be as high as it has been in the past. Instead, the newly elected president, facing almost 65 percent opposition, will have to manage a divided parliament, and most likely a president of the Unicameral Congress that does not belong to Partido Nacional.

Honduras: Election authority agrees to review disputed presidential vote | Deutsche Welle

The president of Honduras’ Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), David Matamoros, said Monday that authorities had agreed to review the electoral rolls and results from the vote. Castro, the wife of ousted former president Manuel Zelaya, filed a complaint on Monday claiming fraud in the election, in which conservative Juan Orlando Hernandez was victorious. “Let us find the tools for it, and let’s do this in the most public way possible so that absolutely no doubt remains,” said Matamoros. Castro, 54, claims tally sheets were altered, that the voter registry included people who were dead or out of the country, and that polling stations were not properly monitored. Her husband, who was removed from office in a 2009 coup that sparked a period of ongoing political instability in Honduras, has asked for the 16,135 original polling station documents to be brought to the TSE for manual review.

Honduras: Computer ‘geeks’ check election tally | The Washington Post

Four Honduran computer programmers watching their country’s debate over the vote count in the hotly contested presidential race decided to check the results themselves, using the power of the Internet and its many users. The idea was to show that computer technology and the Internet now mean that important information which once had to be taken on faith from the government can be verified by the public. The tech entrepreneurs, who all have studied abroad and live in the U.S., Honduras and El Salvador, went to Honduras’ official election website and downloaded scanned copies of vote tally sheets from polling stations. They then posted the sheets publicly and recruited hundreds of volunteers through social media to help check the results.

Honduras: Honduras to recount presidential election vote tallies | BBC

Electoral authorities in Honduras have agreed to review vote tallies from last week’s presidential elections. Defeated left-wing candidate Xiomara Castro demanded the recount, saying she had been robbed of victory by “fraud”. The governing party’s candidate, Juan Orlando Hernandez, has been declared president-elect. Head of the electoral authority David Matamoros said he hoped Ms Castro would admit defeat if the review confirms Mr Hernandez’s victory. The electoral court’s official results gave Mr Hernandez 37% of the votes to Ms Castro’s 29%.

Honduras: Anonymous Hacks Honduras’s Elections Website | Panam Post

As of the evening of December 2, the international network of hacktivists, Anonymous, has successfully hacked the website of Honduras’s Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE). This came just a few hours after the tribunal announced its willingness to recount the votes and review the official electoral records of the recent presidential elections, held on November 24. In the website, Anonymous Honduras declares “we commit the sin of giving you the benefit of the doubt, even when we are certain that your institutions are useless, and don’t serve anyone but the one that has the money and the power in this country. We can no longer tolerate this and the help of your bribed media, who want the people to stay quiet and consume the process no matter what.”

Honduras: Candidate Makes Case for Election Fraud | Associated Press

The opposition presidential candidate in last week’s elections in Honduras is citing allegedly altered tally sheets, ballots cast by dead or absent people, and inadequate monitoring of polling stations in her bid to have a recount of a vote she calls fraudulent. Xiomara Castro’s call for her supporters to pour out in the streets to demand a vote-by-vote recount of last Sunday’s election threatens further political instability for this poor Central American country. Castro’s husband, former President Manuel Zelaya, was ousted in a 2009 coup that left the country polarized. Honduras’ electoral court has declared conservative Juan Orlando Hernandez, of the ruling National Party, the election winner. The court says he received 37 percent of the votes compared to 29 percent for Castro, with 96 percent of the votes counted. Six other candidates shared the remaining votes.

Honduras: Presidential election demands an investigation | Al Jazeera

Honduras’ contested results from its Nov. 24 election threaten to unleash civil unrest and repression that could further destabilize the country. Amid widespread allegations of fraud, vote buying and voting irregularities, the Tribunal Supremo Electoral (TSE) — Honduras’ electoral authority — announced on Nov. 26 that conservative National Party candidate Juan Orlando Hernandez had an irreversible lead. Both Hernandez and left-leaning LIBRE party candidate Xiomara Castro claimed victory on election night. Castro based her claim on LIBRE’s exit polls that showed a substantial lead. Her husband and former president Mel Zelaya – who was ousted in a 2009 coup – also contested the results, noting that the vote tally from 20 percent of the polling stations announced by the TSE contradicted the actual vote count from polling stations. Anti-Corruption party candidate Salvador Nasralla has also impugned the accuracy of the vote counting process. In the cloud of election violence and suspicions, outside pressure from the international community, especially the United States, is critical to ensure that democracy prevails in Honduras and to protect those vulnerable to state sponsored repression. However, the signals from the U.S. so far suggests that it is pleased with the results, even if they are tainted by fraud and intimidation.

Honduras: Ruling party’s lead disputed in Honduran presidential election | Los Angeles Times

Chanting “take to the streets” Monday, Honduran supporters of the country’s first major pro-left political party vigorously protested official presidential election results that showed their candidate losing. Backers of candidate Xiomara Castro accused electoral authorities of fraud, saying they were manipulating results to hand victory to her chief rival, an old-style politician from the conservative ruling party. Castro, wife of the president ousted in a 2009 coup, was trailing the top vote-getter, Juan Orlando Hernandez, by a margin of about 5 percentage points, according to the official tally with more than half of the ballots counted. “We do not accept the results,” Castro’s husband, the deposed former President Manuel Zelaya, said Monday. Hernandez’s disputed victory, which is gradually being recognized by other Latin American governments, threatens to plunge the violent, dysfunctional country into an even deeper period of instability.

Honduras: New Left-Wing Party in Honduras Cries Foul | New York Times

Nine dejected foot soldiers of a would-be revolution were sitting on the stoop of a local campaign headquarters in the Colonia Kennedy neighborhood on Monday afternoon, drinking soda out of small plastic cups and debating what comes next. The vote count in the Honduran presidential election on Sunday was not going their way. Their new left-wing party, Libre, appeared to be headed for defeat, dashing their hopes for the transformative victory they thought would end the dominance of the country’s tight-knit political and business elite. “The laws they make in Congress only benefit their small groups,” said Hector Núñez, 43, a woodworker and handyman, listening to news of the election on a radio. “That’s why we need to re-found the country.” The totals from the electoral tribunal, with results from about 68 percent of polling places, showed the governing conservative party’s candidate, Juan Orlando Hernández, still leading Libre’s candidate, Xiomara Castro, by about five percentage points.

Honduras: Leftist disputes Sunday vote count, vows legal challenge | Reuters

Leftist Honduran presidential candidate Xiomara Castro refuses to accept partial official results that show her conservative rival on course to win Sunday’s election, setting the stage on Monday for a drawn-out conflict. Castro, the wife of deposed leader Manuel Zelaya, and her team said early Monday that an exit poll drawn up for her party showed she was winning. They claimed fraud and accused the electoral authority of manipulating the result. A partial count issued by the electoral authority on Sunday gave National Party candidate Juan Hernandez some 34.3 percent support while Xiomara Castro had nearly 28.7 percent. The preliminary tally was based on a count from 54.5 percent of polling booths. The next update is due after midday Monday.

Honduras: Competing presidential claim victory | The Washington Post

After a day of relatively trouble-free voting in a tight race, Honduras appeared headed for a new political showdown late Sunday, as competing presidential candidates began claiming victory with less than half of the ballots counted. Leftist Xiomara Castro de ­­Ze­laya, the wife of deposed former president Manuel “Mel” Zelaya, declared herself the “new president of Honduras” even as preliminary tallies showed her conservative rival, Juan Orlando Hernán­dez, with a lead of at least five percentage points over Castro, followed by six other candidates. Hernán­dez told his supporters that he was the country’s new leader and that he was already receiving calls from several Latin American heads of state to congratulate him. The vote count was expected to stretch late into the night, with many here anxious that a close, contested election could toss the troubled country askew once more.

Honduras: Spiking pre-election violence in Honduras | Latina Lista

The most violent nation in the world is Honduras, with more murders per capita (92 per 100,000) than even Iraq or Afghanistan and twenty times more than the United States. It is now getting worse, as a wave of brutal killings sweep over the nation in the run-up to the country’s elections on November 24. The left-leaning opposition Partido Libertad y Refundación (Liberty and Refoundation, or LIBRE) has emerged as the target of choice in the majority of attacks. Honduras’ recent troubles grow directly out of the events of June 2009, when a military coup removed democratically elected president Manuel Zelaya (2006-2009). Honduras, one of the last Latin American nations to move toward authentic democracy, had been slowly constructing democratic political institutions until the coup. But with this one stroke, Honduras’ nascent democratization suffered a damaging blow from which it has yet to recover. Honduras, a Tennessee-sized country of 8.4 million people, is in many respects Latin America’s most unreconstructed nation. It only began the process of democratization in the 1980s and its economy is still built around unprocessed agricultural exports—chiefly coffee and bananas—produced on latifundio plantations and the beginnings of a maquila industry. The nation’s GDP per capita is under $4,000 USD PPP (purchasing parity power), ranking near the bottom of all Latin American nations.

Honduras: International election observers head to Honduras | rabble.ca

An international network of human rights organizations will be sending 180 official election observers to Honduras from November 17-27 to observe the upcoming general election, which will be taking place on November 24. Common Frontiers Canada is coordinating the Canadian based portion of the delegation which will be composed of representatives from various labour organizations, community groups, academics and a former chief of the Ardoch Algonquin First Nations. The mission will travel to various parts of the country to meet with communities and groups impacted by Canadian investment in mining, maquiladoras and the mega tourism sector. Honduras is widely viewed as the murder capital of the world, reaching a record high of 7,172 homicides in 2012 (source: United Nations).

Honduras: How votes are counted … counts | CSMonitor.com

For the last few weeks [leading up to] the Honduran election, no surveys of the electorate can be published. But really, the only poll that matters will take place this coming Sunday, Nov. 24. According to the Tribunal Supremo Electoral (TSE), 5.3 million Hondurans are eligible to vote. Throughout the country, people in five thousand election centers will place their ballots for president, congress, and municipal mayor in three separate ballot boxes. What happens then? What ensures that the ballot cast is counted and reported accurately? How reliable should we expect the numbers to be? In part, what you think the answer is depends on how you assess the procedures set in place by the TSE.