Honduras – Individual scrutiny of the minutes is the only guarantee to avoid fraud in the election

Press release
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Tegucigalpa - Paris, November 30, 2017.- The FIDH expresses its concern regarding the events that have taken place in Honduras after the presidential, municipal and legislative elections held on November 26, whose definitive results, which are still uncertain, have opened a political crisis in the country.

The controversy began last Monday with the publication of an initial result by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal. This information, corresponding to the count of 57% of the polling stations, yielded a favorable result to the leader of the opposition, Salvador Nasralla (45.17%), who, according to the count, would win over the current president Juan Orlando Hernandez (40, twenty-one %). After that, the tribunal notified that the final results would be published on Thursday.

As opposed to the ordinary practice of the Tribunal, for the Supreme Electoral Tribunal not to have published the almost final results the day of the election allowing a winner to be declared on that same night. Instead, strangly this body decided to postpone four days the communication of the final results of the elections. This has raised doubts about the possibility of a fraudulent alteration of the results.

This situation has been aggravated by a 5 hour interruption of the transmission of the results of the counting, specially since Salvador Nasralla was in the lead before the interruption but losing to Juan Orlando Hernández after those 5 hours. There are also multiple reports denouncing serious irregularities regarding the minutes, some of which would have allegedly been modified.

In any case, despite the initial result published by the TSE, the current President Juan Orlando Hernandez did not hesitate to immediately declare himself the winner of the elections, while members of his party called to his followers to take to the streets and defend the result.

The FIDH notes that the candidacy of President JOH is unconstitutional as it was authorized by a highly questionable decision of the Supreme Court. This Court interpreted that the explicit prohibition for re-election included in the Honduran Constitution of 1982 as a guarantee of the democratic principle, contradicted the right of every citizen to be elected, authorizing Juan Orlando Hernández to run again for President. We also remember that one of the main arguments used to justify the coup d’etat carried out by the National Party in 2009 against Manuel Zelaya was the will of the latter to hold a referendum on the possible elimination of that restriction to be re-elected.

The FIDH would like to express our most serious concern for the inability of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal to comply with the necessary requirements to allow maximum transparency in the counting process, as well as for the four-day delay in the publication of the final result, which could questions the accuracy of this result.

For these two reasons, we request that each minute is counted individually to ensure that there has been no fraudulent alteration of the results. Along with this, we ask the European Union and the Organization of American States to support this measure and to refrain from recognizing the results as valid until it can be guaranteed that the elections were held in a transparent manner.

Finally, the FIDH urges the authorities to respect the right to pacifically protest. Indeed, it has been notified that a demonstration in Tegucigalpa was violently suppressed last night.

FIDH will continue to inform together with its member organizations and partners in Honduras about the situation in the country to ensure the necessary response.

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