Following a lengthy delay, the TSE, during a press conference after 3:00 a.m. local time, released initial results of the controversial Honduran polls. According to the TSE the preliminary results are: Salvador Nasralla with 855,847, leads with 45.17% followed by Juan Orlando Hernandez with 761,872 or 40.22% and Luis Zelaya with 260,994 or 13.77% of the more than 50% of the tallied votes.
Election observer urged for calm from the Honduran people, stressing that only 57% of the ballots have been counted so far.
A Televicentro poll had earlier placed current Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez, of the right-wing National Party in the lead with 43.93% of votes, with left-wing candidate Salvador Nasralla of the Opposition Alliance with 34.70% and Luis Zelaya Medrano of the Liberal Party with 17.68% trailing Hernandez.
Millions of Hondurans cast their votes to elect a new president and 128 members of the National Congress in polls across the country. Officially, voting closed at 4:00 p.m. but those who were inside the polling centers at that time were allowed to vote.
Six million people out of a total nine million on the mainland are eligible to vote. Meanwhile, roughly 50,100 immigrant voters are expected to head to the polls in six cities across the United States. These include New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, Washington, D.C. and Atlanta.
Attention is primarily focused on the presidential election, in which current President Juan Orlando Hernandez of the National Party faces off against two primary candidates: Salvador Nasralla of the Opposition Alliance and Luis Zelaya Medrano of the Liberal Party.
The National Party leader is the first incumbent in the Central American country’s history to be allowed to run for a second term. Controversy surrounds his re-election bid, given that the country’s constitution forbids it. The right-wing leader was a key figure in orchestrating the 2009 coup that ousted former President Manuel Zelaya, who sought to amend constitutional restrictions on term limits.
Nasralla and the Opposition Alliance have campaigned on the premise of toppling the National Party’s monopoly on power in the country, given that it has ruled unabated since 2009.
The Opposition Alliance is composed of three parties: the Liberty and Refoundation party (Libre); the Anti-Corruption Party (PAC), and the Innovation and Unity Party (PINU). The coalition of leftist and centrist parties seeks to establish a “democratic refoundation” of the government, eliminate institutional corruption and establish a National Constituent Assembly. Meanwhile, Medrano and Hernandez focus on combatting crime and attracting foreign investment.
The National Party, Liberal Party, Libre, PAC and PINU are all running independent candidatures for the 128 National Congress seats. Among them are Olivia Zuñiga Caceres, the daughter of slain Honduran activist Berta Caceres, who is representing Libre for the Intibuca department.
The Honduran government has deployed National Police forces across the country in anticipation of political violence.
Source: TeleSur / RedGlobe