TEGUCIGALPA – Former Honduran head of state Manuel Zelaya demanded on Friday that President Juan Orlando Hernandez allow a full recount of votes cast in the still-unresolved Nov. 26 election.
Zelaya said the recount would show the incumbent president failed in his re-election bid, adding that the country would only emerge from its current political crisis once opposition candidate Salvador Nasralla is proclaimed president-elect.
“President Hernandez, let’s count the votes, let’s cross-check the signatures, the tally sheets, and peace will be restored. You lost the election. You need to hand over power on Jan. 27. Salvador Nasralla, whom the people elected, needs to take over,” Zelaya said while leading one of several demonstrations in Tegucigalpa.
Road-blocking protests in support of the left-wing Opposition Alliance against the Dictatorship’s (AOD’s) candidate, who alleges he was robbed of victory due to fraud, began early Friday in several of Honduras’ main cities.
Several people were injured, at least one of whom sustained a gunshot wound, according to local media.
Nasralla has accused Honduras’ highest electoral authority, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), of fraudulently aiding the National Party incumbent in his re-election bid.
Zelaya is the coordinator of the Opposition Alliance, the left-wing Liberty and Refoundation Party and the National Popular Resistance Front (FNRP), a coalition of grassroots roots and parties that was formed to restore the former president – ousted in a 2009 coup – to power.
The FNRP organized Friday’s protests.
The TSE said in its latest tally that Hernandez received 42.95 percent of the vote and Nasralla garnered 41.42 percent, although it still has not officially proclaimed the incumbent as the winner.
Zelaya said the Honduran people want “an independent tribunal that guarantees a transparent recount,” adding that there are president’s office employees at the TSE.
A total of 16 people – two police officers and 14 demonstrators – have died and an undetermined number have been injured in post-election violence, the Honduran National Human Rights Commission (Conadeh), a government agency, said in a report released on Friday.
More than 1,600 individuals have been arrested in the unrest, Conadeh added.