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OAS Electoral Observation Mission in Honduras Calls for Agreement between Main Candidates to Recognize Winner

  December 4, 2017

The Electoral Observation Mission of the Organization of American States (EOM/OAS) in Honduras, headed by former Bolivian President Jorge “Tuto” Quiroga, today published its preliminary report on the November 26 general elections, in which it signals that the only way forward that allows the Honduran people to accept a winner in the electoral process that is recognized by all sides is through an agreement on specific points between the main candidates.

The EOM/OAS, which arrived in the country on October 30, deployed a team of 82 experts and observers from 25 nationalities that visited 1,257 electoral receiving tables in 451 voting centers in 17 departments in the country. The vote took place peacefully, but observers reported delays in the opening of some centers due to the lack of necessary voting materials, as well as confusion surrounding the closing time.

The Mission observed with concern the stage of processing of votes and dissemination of results. The delay in the publication of results, added to the tight margin in the presidential results, led both leading candidates to declare themselves winners, contributing to a climate of uncertainty and growing tension in the streets. The Mission reiterates its condemnation of the incidents of violence and regrets the loss of lives. Violence is not the way to resolve differences.

The Mission, which had to extend its stay in the country, maintained a nearly permanent presence in the National Electoral Collection Center, located in the INFOP facilities, where it observed the arrival of the electoral bags from the various departments and the special vote count, which was delayed on several occasions by the decision of the Opposition Alliance against Dictatorship not to participate.

The tight margin of the results, and the irregularities, errors and systemic problems that have surrounded this election do not allow the Mission to hold certainty about the results.

The preliminary report also gathers the main observations and recommendations about the electoral process in relation to the makeup of the electoral authority, presidential re-election, campaign financing, the political participation of women and the vote abroad. The Mission will shortly present a more detailed report to the OAS Permanent Council, which will also be delivered to the Supreme Electoral Tribunal and distributed to the actors in the electoral process.

The EOM/OAS appreciates the openness and the cooperation of the authorities and officials of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, as well as that of the actors in the electoral process, their security forces and the Honduran people that made possible the work of the Mission.

Moreover, the Mission expresses its thanks for the contributions of Argentina, Bolivia, Canada, Chile, South Korea, Spain, the United States, Israel, Kazakhstan, Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Switzerland.

Reference: E-089/17