Latin America & Caribbean

Honduras election: Hernandez declared winner

A banner of the Honduran presidential candidate Juan Orlando Hernandez Image copyright AFP
Image caption Juan Orlando Hernandez has vowed to restore order

The electoral commission in Honduras says the governing party candidate has won Sunday's presidential election.

"Today's figures indicate clearly that the winner of the election is Juan Orlando Hernandez," said the commission's president David Matamoros.

Mr Hernandez, of the conservative National Party, won 36% of the vote, with results from 81.5% of polling stations tallied.

The left-wing candidate Xiomara Castro won 29%, but she disputes the outcome.

Mr Matamoros earlier said the final result would be known in the next few days, but he called on all candidates to support the new government.

Second-placed Ms Castro said she was robbed of victory.

She said she would present evidence of fraud.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Castro had hoped to become the first female president of Honduras

Since Sunday, her Libre party has alleged massive electoral fraud and refused to accept the results.

On Tuesday European Union and Organization of American States observers in Honduras said the voting process had been transparent.

'Serious inconsistencies'

Ms Castro, the wife of ousted ex-President Manuel Zelaya, had hoped to become the first female president of Honduras.

Mr Zelaya, who was deposed in a coup in 2009, told reporters there were "serious inconsistencies" in up to 400,000 ballots.

"We are going to defend our triumph at the ballot box and if necessary will take to the streets," he said.

"Until proven otherwise, we hold triumph in our hands."

Students and other Castro supporters have already protested over the election results.

Image copyright AP
Image caption The threat of social unrest and political violence looms amid the uncertainty

Around 5.4m Hondurans were registered to vote in the general election, selecting a new president, members of parliament and local mayors.

Voting took place amid tight security, but no serious incidents were reported. Honduras has the highest murder rate in the world.

Nicaragua's leftist President Daniel Ortega has congratulated Mr Hernandez on his victory.

However no official winner has been declared.

Drug traffickers

Mr Hernandez, whose National Party backed the ousting of Mr Zelaya, has vowed to restore order with more soldiers and police on the streets.

Ms Castro proposed a community police force to tackle local crime, with more soldiers deployed to the borders to combat drug trafficking.

Analysts say victory for Mr Hernandez would be a blow to Mr Zelaya, who has hoped to stage a comeback behind his wife.

Honduras is one of the poorest countries in Latin America. It also has the world's highest murder rate, averaging 20 killings a day.

Much of the violence is blamed on gang violence and drug traffickers.

Nearly 30,000 police and soldiers were deployed to ensure security during Sunday's elections.

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