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.
Behind the scenes, some diplomats and foreign observers were trying to persuade Castro to accept the results and use her remarkably good showing for a first-time party run to build a more effective political force.
But Zelaya seemed unwilling to countenance that, repeatedly telling reporters that no negotiation will be permitted that “betrays the Honduran people.”
Zelaya spoke at a meeting in a hotel ballroom to which journalists were summoned for what was billed as a news conference with Castro. She did not show up, and the conference was much more political rally than informative session.