The electoral commission gave the Honduran presidency to incumbent Juan Orlando Hernández.
The electoral commission of Honduras ruled that Juan Orlando Hernández will serve as president for a second term. Critics say that this decision is against the country’s constitution that limits presidents to only one term. The Honduran Supreme Court lifted a constitutional ban that limited presidential terms, which allowed for U.S.-backed Hernández to run for re-election. Officials with the Organization of American States (OAS), and organization that brings leaders from the Americas to address issues and opportunities in the region, are pressuring Honduras for a new vote because of irregularities they found in the voting process. The irregularities are too suspicious to have just happened by coincidence, according to critics.
Honduras has been rocked by violence since the election took place on Nov. 26. The discrepancies in the vote counting led to weeks of protests, strict nationwide curfews, and the deaths of activists at the hands of police. Reports claim that dozens of people have been killed in clashes during protests. The new announcement by the electoral commission has sparked new protests around the country.
“There were multiple opportunities for fraud in this election, and only a determination by impartial international observers that the vote tally was fair and transparent will provide the necessary credibility to the process,” Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, told The New York Times.
Protesters have taken to the streets demanding that Hernández step down as president.
The Organization of American States is calling for a new election in Honduras as President Juan Orlando Hernandez is declared winner of the Nov. 26 vote.
Dozens have been killed over the contested election. pic.twitter.com/H8KML7awqM
— AJ+ (@ajplus) December 18, 2017
“Fuera JOH” has become a rallying cry for Hondurans in the country and around the world. Officials for OAS are calling the election results too inconsistent. According to an analysis by Georgetown University professor Irfan Nooruddin, there was a sharp shift in votes favoring Hernández after 68 percent of the votes were counted. While this could be a sign of early v. late-reporting, Nooruddin claims that the amount of change across all departments is too great for it to be by chance.
Protesters have shut down major roads to bring awareness to the contested election results.
My mom is affected by this.. she can’t come home for the holidays because of what’s going on in Honduras.. please keep her in your prayers. ??❤️ https://t.co/7byO59tyrS
— José (@BravesNYC) December 18, 2017
Protesters are using starting fires and using objects to create road blocks that impact major roadways in the country.
Honduras has not seen this level of political turmoil since 2009 when a coup was mounted to oust the leader at the time.
A dictatorship is stablishing here in Honduras, "our" own president is violating the constitution and he is re-electing himself with a fraudulent election supported by USA. You guys have a very influential voice, please help us. @iamjohnoliver @LastWeekTonight @StephenAtHome
— Carlos Coca (@coca_carlos) December 18, 2017
Pressure continues mounting for a new election, with more regulation to make sure votes are properly counted. Only time will tell if the Honduran government will allow for new elections.