TEGUCIGALPA – Opposition presidential candidate Salvador Nasralla met on Tuesday with observers from the OAS and European Union to present what he said was evidence of fraud in the Nov. 26 Honduran elections.
The candidate handed over a USB drive containing 14,364 tally sheets to delegations from the EU and the Organization of American States.
The OAS and EU representatives can bear witness to “the brazen fraud” perpetrated on the Honduran people, Nasralla told a press conference in Tegucigalpa.
Both Nasralla, a well-known former sportscaster, and right-wing incumbent Juan Orlando Hernandez claimed victory hours after the polls closed on Nov. 26.
While the first partial results issued by the TSE electoral court showed Nasralla in the lead, the latest official count gives Hernandez 42.95 percent of the vote compared with 41.42 percent for his main challenger.
Nasralla, the candidate of a center-left coalition, has asked the OAS and EU to press for an internationally supervised recount of every ballot cast.
If the TSE proclaims Hernandez the winner, “we will struggle until they acknowledge that the people want a change,” Nasralla said Tuesday.
He said that the TSE’s recount of ballots from 5,759 polling places was carried out with “the consent and direct accompaniment” of the charge d’affaires at the US Embassy in Honduras, Heide Fulton.
Honduras is host to the only US military base in Central America.
“The 5,759 ballot boxes recounted have a common denominator,” Nasralla said, asserting that most of them were transported to Tegucigalpa “under the direction of the armed forces, without established security protocols.”
Last Friday, the Liberal Party joined Nasralla’s coalition in formally requested a recount of every ballot cast and a review of all documentation from polling places.
The TSE says it plans to announce the final result of the elections no later than Dec. 26.
The OAS observer mission has already condemned the “irregularities, errors and systematic problems” plaguing the Honduran electoral process, while Human Rights Watch spoke out Monday about “strong indications of election fraud” in the Central American nation.
Hernandez’s re-election bid was controversial from the start, as the Honduran Constitution limits the president to one term.
His candidacy was permitted on the basis of a May 2015 ruling by five Supreme Court judges who owed their appointments to Hernandez.
In 2009, the Honduran military ousted left-leaning President Mel Zelaya based on accusations that his call for a non-binding referendum on constitutional reform was a gambit aimed at allowing him to seek re-election.