Competing Candidates Claim Victory in Honduras Presidential Election

Juan Orlando Hernández from the ruling conservative National Party is currently leading the presidential vote in Honduras, according to results released by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE). But his main rival, left-wing LIBRE party candidate Xiomara Castro, has also claimed victory and her party has declared that they don't recognize the results released by the TSE.

Xiomara Castro is the wife of former president Manuel Zelaya, who was ousted in a coup in June 2009.

Twitter users shared reactions and reports throughout Sunday, November 24, with the hashtags #HondurasDecide (Honduras decides), #EleccionesHonduras2013 (Honduras 2013 elections), #HondurasVota (Honduras votes) and #Honduras, among others:

Freelance writer and consultant Boz from Bloggings by boz explained that both parties quoted exit polls that claimed they had won the presidential election.

Xiomara Castro claimed her victory on Sunday night. She tweeted:

With the exit poll results that I have received from around the country, I can tell you: I am the president of Honduras.

But the early results released by the TSE placed National Party candidate Juan Orlando Hernández in the lead:

First results from the Supreme Electoral Tribunal.

Juan Orlando Hernández declared his victory soon after these early results:

Thank you God and thank you Honduran people for this victory!

Headlines: Unbelievable, Honduras debuts two presidents, both celebrate victory.

Later that night, the bloggers behind Honduras Culture and Politics shared the last TSE results of the day, which still had Juan Orlando Hernández winning the election:

Xiomara Castro's LIBRE party did not recognize these results, as human rights and anti-mining activist Karen Spring explained:

Radio Globo, a radio station known for its opposition to the coup in 2009, had reported earlier that Xiomara Castro was the winner of Sunday's election:

Radio Globo Honduras: “We didn't lie during the coup. We won't lie to you now. Xiomara Castro is winning around the country.”

Meanwhile, US ambassador in Honduras, Lisa Kubiske, declared:

It has been a “transparent and regular process” the ambassador of the United States in Tegucigalpa declared regarding the Honduran elections.

Laura Raymond from the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) questioned the ambassador's statements:

CCR released a statement on Monday:

Yesterday’s election in Honduras and subsequent statements by the U.S. Ambassador characterizing the election as “transparent” and accompanied by only few acts of violence are reminiscent of the 2009 election, where the U.S. rushed to validate and help push forward a process as it was being contested by Honduran civil society. There must be an opportunity to do a full and accurate count and fully investigate reports of irregularities and intimidation and threats by authorities.

Meanwhile, on Twitter some are talking about electoral fraud:

It smells like fraud. Political crisis with 2 self-proclaimed candidates and a third candidate not recognizing TSE results.

And user Horacio Torres referred to the coup that overthrew Zelaya:

If they carried out a coup with complete impunity, why would they not be able to organize a fraud?

The Americas Blog has been keeping a live blog where they share violations of electoral regulations and other inconsistencies.

Furthermore, the Honduras Solidarity Network released a report by the ‘Council Analyzing Human Rights Violations in the Honduran Electoral Process’ which says that the elections were “taking place in an atmosphere of suspicion.”

The report lists the information the Council shared with human rights lawyer Luis Guillermo Pérez Casas and Judge Baltazar Garzon, including reports of “intimidation against members of the voting tables […] the buying and selling of votes and credentials” and “irregularities in the electoral registry.”

The Council added:

We remind the people of Honduras that we are not alone, for we are being accompanied by hundreds of international defenders of human rights here in our country, who are taking note of the injustices and violations of basic rights, so that they can submit timely reports to their respective countries.

To conclude, we reaffirm our demand that human rights are respected, in particular the right to life , integrity, and freedom, rights which are systematically violated in this country.

Boz from Bloggings by boz posted ““, where, among other things, he discusses the slow vote count:

4) Could the vote count be any slower? While I think the TSE vote counting process will eventually deliver an accurate result, it's also way too slow for the age of Twitter. The delay in counting the vote is partially why both leading candidates jumped the gun in declaring themselves president. It's why two of the candidates are now claiming fraud and manipulation. This is something that must be fixed by the next election. There is no reason that at 7AM the morning after the election, only about half the votes have been counted.

Boz concludes:

5) It's clear the presidential winner will obtain less than 40% of the vote and potentially under 33%. The Congress is going to be far more plural and more divided. No candidate or party has a significant mandate. Honduras's institutions should try to reflect that divided country, yet should also focus on being productive, not continuing to fight the political battles of the election. That's idealistic of me. It's much more likely that Honduras is going to see some protests.

Stay tuned for more updates on this contested election.

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