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Saturday, November 23, 2013

Violence and the Vote in Honduras

Here's how Bloomberg sees the results of Sunday's voting in Honduras: Juan Orlando Hernandez, a lawyer and former head of Congress, is leading the presidential election in Honduras over the wife of ousted former President Manuel Zelaya, with both candidates claiming victory. With 54 percent of precincts reporting, the ruling National Party’s Hernandez had about 34 percent of the votes cast in yesterday’s election, compared with 29 percent for Xiomara Castro, the country’s electoral tribunal said last night in its final update of the evening. There is no second round vote in Honduras, so whoever gets the most votes wins. The head of the European Union’s observer mission said voting was “peaceful and transparent” amid record turnout. During the campaign, Hernandez and Castro vowed to address crime fueled by drug gangs that have made Honduras the most violent nation in the world, according to the United Nations. Castro, whose husband was forced out of the country at gunpoint in 2009, was also seeking to break a century-long hold on the presidential palace by the country’s two traditional parties. Hernandez, 45, said people wanted to move on from the coup. “The Honduran people voted to leave the 2009 crisis, the worst Honduras has ever had, behind,” Hernandez told supporters in the capital, Tegucigalpa, yesterday. He vowed to use the military to “regain peace and calm” in the country. More results will be available today, the electoral tribunal said, without giving further details. Investors wary of Zelaya’s former alliance with late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez have fueled a rally in Honduran bonds since September, when polls started showing Hernandez gaining on Castro, who led earlier this year. ------- And here's how Al Jazeera views the situation: The conservative ruling party candidate has claimed victory in Honduras' presidential election as an early vote count put him ahead, but his leftist rival also said she was the winner, setting the stage for a conflict.  The electoral authority late on Sunday said a partial count of votes gave National Party candidate, Juan Hernandez, 34 percent support while Xiomara Castro, wife of deposed former leader Manuel Zelaya, had 28.5 percent. The preliminary tally was based on a count from 43 percent of polling booths. Final results are expected on Monday. A Hernandez victory would deal a blow to Zelaya, who was ousted in a 2009 coup that plunged Honduras into a political crisis. He had hoped to stage a political comeback behind Castro.  The people have voted, and the people want change. A new era has started for all Hondurans.  Xiomara Castro  {additional_info} Any result is likely to be contested as the impartiality of the Honduran Election Tribunal has consistently been called into question by Castro's Libre Party.  The party has also warned of fraud and voter intimidation. "All of these parties have been conducting their own polling for months and they are convinced that their polling is correct," Al Jazeera's Adam Raney, reporting from the capital Tegucigalpa, said.  "So, whatever this tribunal says, it's going to be hard to convince the loser that this is an accurate count."

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