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Law-and-order candidate wins Honduran presidency

Conservative ruling party candidate Juan Orlando Hernandez has won the weekend presidential election in Honduras, the electoral tribunal said on Thursday, while their leftist challengers claimed fraud and called for street protests.


The conservative ruling party candidate has won the presidential election in Honduras, the electoral tribunal said on Thursday, while the rival leftist camp levied accusations of fraud and called for street protests.

The electoral tribunal said the votes indicate that Juan Orlando Hernandez won the weekend election over Xiomara Castro of the leftist Libre party.

"These numbers that we released today clearly indicate that the winner of the general election is Juan Orlando Hernandez," said David Matamoros, president of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, in radio and television broadcasts.

Figures from 81.5 percent of polling stations give Hernandez 35.88 percent to Xiomara Castro's 29.14 percent.

"In the coming days, we will issue the official declaration, once we have added the records that are needed," he added.

But Castro's campaign accuses the Supreme Electoral Tribunal of manipulating 19 percent of the votes to favour Hernandez and called for massive street protests over the alleged fraud.

"Robbed of victory"?

"On Saturday, we are going to summon people to protest. The Libre [Party] and Xiomara [Castro] have been robbed of their victory, and we are going to show it," Castro’s husband, ousted ex-president Manuel Zelaya, told media outlets.

"For now, we do not recognise the results," Zelaya said, insisting that they had been "manipulated” and adding: “We are going to prove it."

For a second straight day on Thursday, hundreds of students took the streets to protest the alleged electoral fraud.

"No to fraud!" they shouted during a demonstration in support of Castro outside the gates of a university east of Tegucigalpa.

Some 100 police in helmets and riot gear used tear gas and then truncheons on Tuesday to disperse about 800 pro-Castro protesters.

Country plagued by poverty, crime

European Union and Organization of American States election observers called the voting process transparent and non-problematic. But the GSC civil society group issued a plea for electoral authorities to "answer to the fraud charges immediately".

The election's ultimate winner will inherit 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.

The conservatives’ Hernandez ran on a law-and-order platform and has promised to marshal the military’s help to improve public safety in the nation, which has the world's highest murder rate and is also among the poorest in Latin America.

Honduran gangs run whole neighborhoods, extorting businesses ranging from large factories to small family-run tortilla stands.

Drug cartels also use Honduras as a transit point for shipping illegal drugs, notably cocaine, from South America to the United States.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)


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