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.
“We don’t accept this result … They can’t do this to us, they are stealing the election,” Zelaya told reporters. “We do not use violence, weapons, but we know how to defend our rights.”
Manuel Zelaya was ousted in a 2009 coup after his opponents accused him of trying to seek re-election, which is banned under the constitution. The debacle plunged Honduras into a deep political crisis and widened tensions between the left and the right in Latin America.