Manuel Zelaya: The Entire Honduran Electoral System is 'Contaminated'


Former Honduran president and director of the center-left Opposition Alliance Manuel Zelaya said the country’s entire electoral system “is contaminated.” 

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Opposition Alliance presidential candidate Salvador Nasralla alleges the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, TSE, and its director, David Matamoros, have committed several counts of electoral fraud since polling stations closed Nov. 26.

Nasralla and the Opposition Alliance are demanding a recount of the ballots from all 18,000 polling stations and that the TSE carry out all the opposition’s 11 demands. Matamoros said he would consider the full recount and asked the opposition to put their demand in writing. Candidates have until Dec. 8 to put their demands in writing to challenge official TSE results.

Nasralla and Zelaya previously demanded that the TSE recount the ballots from over 5,000 polling stations, representing 30 percent of all presidential election ballots. The TSE agreed to the measure, and to do so under the observation of European Union, EU, and Organization of the American States, OAS, delegates. 

However, the opposition refused to deliver the ballots from over 5,000 polling stations because the TSE didn’t complete all 11 demands, including the revision of ballot boxes they say arrived to TSE offices “opened” exposing “sensitive information.” Their other demands include comparing signatures in  voting notebooks with those registered with the official TSE vote count, "in order to see if the signatures match." The opposition also wants the TSE to make sure its database wasn’t changed during the count.

International delegates have already watched over the TSE recount of ballots from over 1,000 polling stations.

"There’s a serious problem, one that even the U.N. has denounced and that goes beyond the ballots from 5,000 polling station," Zelaya said. 

"We want all of our 11 demands met … that has not changed.” 

Nasralla said he wants a full recount or a second round election between him and incumbent President Juan Orlando Hernandez. 

An official winner has not been declared. However, according to TSE figures, Hernandez is ahead with 42.98 percent while Nasralla has 41.38 percent of votes. The TSE has counted, at least once, nearly 100 percent of all ballots. By law, the TSE has until Dec. 26 to declare a winner. 

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"Our promise is to (compare signatures) and if they are different, we will examine the original electoral ballots, as the law requires," Matamoros said during a press conference.

He added that this process could take hours or days, but "what’s important is that we’re here open to what the (Opposition Alliance) brings us.” 

EU Foreign Minister Segun Mogherini said in a communique that “it’s imperative that everyone acts in a responsible manner, avoiding any further escalation of tensions.”

Mogherini added that the EU is committed to the Honduran electoral process until it has officially concluded. She encouraged all to “avoid violence at any cost.” She deplored the recent killings of three opposition protesters by Honduran military forces, offering her condolences to the victims’ families.

Hernandez is calling for “calm and moderation” as the TSE and international observers do their jobs. He claimed he is open to a recount, adding “we can’t make violence any part of this process.”

"Honduran people deserve respect — those who voted for us as well as the opposition,” he said. "We can’t keep falling into this continual game,” referring to the recounts.    


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