Sun, Dec 01, 2013 - Page 7 News List

Honduran leftist demands recount

AFP, TEGUCIGALPA

Honduran presidential candidate for the Libre Party, Xiomara Castro, center, wife of former Honduran president Manuel Zelaya, speaks during a press conference in Tegucigalpa on Friday, during which she announced she would not comply with the electorate results of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal of Honduras that stated that Juan Orlando Hernandez is the president, and she called for a demonstration in the streets.

Photo: EPA

Leftist Honduran candidate Xiomara Castro said on Friday she did not recognize the results of the country’s presidential election, demanding a recount and charging fraud.

“Our position is irreversible: So long as we are not allowed to enter the Supreme Electoral Tribunal’s [computer] system, we are not going to accept the result announced by the TSE [Supreme Electoral Tribunal],” said Castro, wife of toppled ex-president Manuel Zelaya.

Her words came just moments after her party called a peaceful mass protest for today against an “electoral fraud” it says cheated her out of the presidency.

“All members of the [Libre party] are summoned to rally outside Francisco Morazan teachers’ University on Sunday, Dec. 1, at 8am... against the electoral fraud perpetrated in Honduras by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal,” the party said in a statement online.

Castro vowed earlier to deliver proof of the fraud she claims is aimed at keeping her from becoming Honduras’ first female president.

The electoral authorities called today’s election in favor of her conservative rival Juan Orlando Hernandez.

“We all know that in this process, there were major irregularities, that fraud was committed,” Castro said.

Her husband, Zelaya, was ousted in a military-backed coup just four years ago after his politics veered to the left.

Castro’s campaign earlier charged that electoral authorities unfairly gave a 19 percent advantage to Hernandez.

The TSE has said that with 88 percent of polling stations reporting, Hernandez earned 36.56 percent of the vote to Castro’s 28.85.

“The people elected us. And it is necessary to deliver proof decisively,” Castro said, promising to rally supporters to flood the country’s streets starting yesterday in protest at the alleged fraud.

TSE president David Matamoros told local media that “the data show that the winner of the general elections is Juan Orlando Hernandez.”

EU and Organization of American States observers had called the elections transparent. So did the US-based Carter Center.

However, renowned Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon, who witnessed the voting, said there was in fact electoral fraud using various means and methods.

“There was voter ID buying, attempted vote-purchasing at balloting stations and other types of fraud that are in the report that we presented in Honduras,” he told reporters.

And an Austrian official with the EU observers said that while their preliminary report may have concluded the elections were transparent, many disagreed.

“There is a large group, which is a majority in meetings [of the EU monitoring mission], that does not agree with the title and content of the preliminary [EU monitors’] report,” election observer Leo Gabriel said. “Because it does not seem to us whatsoever that [the election] was transparent.”

Yet within hours of his statement, the EU mission disqualified the Austrian for speaking on his “personal and subjective impressions” when the mission’s goal is to analyze broad, national-level data, fellow election observer Jose Antonio de Gabriel of Spain said.

“Transparency does not mean that there are not errors. It means that these can be detected and corrected on time, which is what the TSE is doing,” the Spaniard added.

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