US Backs Re-Election of Honduras President Juan Orlando Hernández

US Backs Re-Election of Honduras President Juan Orlando Hernández

Honduran electoral authorities concluded a recount December 4, more than a week after a bitterly contested presidential election, that put incumbent President Juan Orlando Hernández in the lead.

In a statement, the State Department congratulated Hernandez while also acknowledging widespread irregularities in the November 26 vote and calling for a "robust national dialogue" to overcome political discord in the Central American country, a close ally of the administration.

The controversial election came eight years after a military coup sparked by a previous president's flirtation with a second term, which was barred by the constitution at the time.

The vote tally had initially clearly favored opposition candidate Salvador Nasralla, a center-leftist, but it swung in favor of the incumbent after a 36-hour delay.

The day before thousands of Hondurans protested in front of the United States embassy Tegucigalpa and demanded the immediate departure of the current president, Juan Orlando Hernandez.

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President Donald Trump's administration on Friday recognized the results of Honduras' disputed presidential election despite opposition complaints, irregularities found by poll observers and calls from Congress to back a new vote.

On the other hand, Zelaya affirmed that the US Department of State is sponsoring electoral fraud in Honduras. By mid-week some 27 people had died in clashes, according to local human rights group COFADEH.

"We call upon the [election tribunal] to transparently and fully review any challenges filed by political parties", she said.

Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), a leading Democratic voice on Central American issues, said he was "angry and deeply disturbed" by the State Department decision.

"They are very afraid of left-wing governments", Nasralla said.

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