Honduras appeared set for a recount of its election Tuesday after incumbent President Juan Orlando Hernandez welcomed a demand by the opposition to re-open ballot boxes, a week into a crisis triggered by rigging claims. The small Central American nation of 10 million people has been plunged into uncertainty punctuated with clashes since the November 26 election pitting Hernandez against leftwing former TV presenter Salvador Nasralla, with both sides claiming victory. Hernandez ordered a state of emergency last Friday to curb protests and pillaging, but at least one death was reported in clashes after thousands staged defiant demonstrations. His authority looked fragile as hundreds of police officers refused to enforce a nighttime curfew late Monday. Officers returned to work Tuesday on condition that the government would not force them to repress protesters.
In the first hours after the vote, Nasralla looked on track to comfortably win.
But then counting of ballots was delayed multiple times, with election authorities speaking of computer malfunctions, before results trickled out that credited Hernandez with a slight lead.
The Supreme Electoral Authority ultimately said Hernandez won 42.98 percent, against 41.39 percent for Nasralla — but refused to name a winner, saying appeals might challenge the result.