Honduras left seeks annulment of presidential vote results

TEGUCIGALPA, December 9, 2013 (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.”

Zelaya was deposed at gunpoint in a June 2009 coup after he aligned Honduras with the leftist governments of Cuba and Venezuela.

This led to 100 days of unrest that included massive street protests and a crackdown on leftist activists.

The possible unrest poses a serious threat to governing in Honduras, the second poorest country in the western hemisphere after Haiti.

David Matamoros, head of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, announced on November 27 that Hernandez won the election. On December 1 the official count was complete: Hernandez, of the ruling National Party, beat Castro by eight percentage points, 37 percent against 29 percent.

Castro cried foul, and she described the results as a “disgusting monstruosity.”

Pre-vote polls suggested that she was in a tight race for president with Hernandez, and immediately after the vote she claimed victory.

On Monday the Tribunal agreed to review disputed electoral rolls and results at thousands of polling stations.

The Tribunal has until December 24 to resolve all challenges to the vote.

The new president is scheduled to take office on January 27.

The winner will run a country of 8.5 million people with 71 percent of the population living in poverty and a soaring homicide rate of 20 murders per day, one of the deadliest in the world.

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