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Declaration of the OAS General Secretariat regarding the Presidential Elections in Honduras

  December 6, 2017

The Electoral Observation Mission (EOM) of the Organization of American States (OAS) to the elections in Honduras has informed the OAS General Secretariat about the lack of guarantees and transparency, as well as the accumulation of irregularities, mistakes and systemic problems that have surrounded this electoral process during the pre-electoral phase, election day, and the post-electoral phase, that as a corollary do not allow the Mission to have certainty about the results.

Moreover, it is clear that it is not possible, without an exhaustive and meticulous process of verification that determines the existence or not of an electoral fraud - as has been denounced by the opposition - to restore the confidence of the population in the process.

This lack of trust and polarization have generated unsustainable incidents of violence. The public calls for mutiny and military insurrection made in the post-electoral context are are irresponsible and incompatible with democracy.

With equal force, the OAS General Secretariat deplores the reckless calls for violence and the use of assault rifles in private hands by party leaders.

The OAS General Secretariat also condemns the deaths that have taken place and demands their immediate investigation, while also expressing its condolences and expressing solidarity with the families of the victims.

The suspension of the constitutional rights related to the Decree of December 1, 2017 issued by the Government of Honduras has been justified according to the Constitution cited in the decree considered in extreme situations, such as “the invasion of the national territory, the serious disturbance of the peace, an epidemic, or any other general calamity.” Therefore the OAS General Secretariat considers disproportionate the application of these measures in the face of demonstrations that took place following the already denounced irregularities of the electoral act carried out on November 26, 2017 and requests the immediate lifting of these measures.

The electoral process is the ultimate expression of the popular will, and democracy cannot and should not be undermined by serious irregularities, repression and deaths.

It is imperative that sufficient guarantees be given so that violence can be stopped immediately.

Looking forward, the report of the EOM has demanded a series of actions to reestablish trust, generate certainty and provide guarantees.

Therefore, we endorse the recommendations and conclusions contained in the preliminary report of the EOM. These conclusions have determined, based on technical criteria derived from international standards, the stages that must be completed.

We will move forward with all the steps indicated in the report and provide the essential follow-up.

The presidential candidate Juan Orlando Hernández Alvarado has accepted the conclusions and recommendations of the EOM report, and has expressed his commitment to submit the results of the elections to international scrutiny with the accompaniment of international observers.

Unfortunately, despite the technical and scientific basis of the recommendations of the EOM, it has not been possible to reach a signed agreement.

The OAS General Secretariat reiterates that the electoral process in the Republic of Honduras has not concluded, as the full implementation of the following recommendations remain to be carried out:

  • A comparison of the 1,006 records/minutes subjected to special scrutiny with the originals received in order to ascertain whether they formed part of those that were transmitted on-line or those that were processed once they had arrived at INFOP.
  • Verification of the 5,174 TSE records that were not transmitted on the night of the election, along with a recount of the votes in the records showing inconsistencies.
  • Review of the participation in the vote in the departments of Lempira, Intibucá, and La Paz, checking 100% of the polling stations in each of those departments.
  • The establishment of a reasonable deadline for challenging findings. Due to the delays in both the regular and special tallies, the Mission urges the Supreme Electoral Tribunal to be flexible about receiving these challenges and in resolving them with all due procedural guarantees, one by one, after careful and duly substantiated analysis.
  • The publication of the lists of members of the polling stations in the departments of Atlántida, Colón, Cortés, Francisco Morazán, and Yoro.
  • Verification of the soundness/integrity of the Integrated Electoral Vote Counting and Dissemination System (SIEDE) and its components.

If the existing irregularities prove to be of such an extent that it makes it impossible for the process to provide certainty and security in the recount, the Mission reserves the right to make any additional recommendations it deems pertinent on any aspect thereof, without ruling out the possibility of recommending a new call for elections with guarantees that they correct all the identified weaknesses that led to the serious irregularities detected.

The OAS General Secretariat will not abandon the Honduran people and reaffirms its complete commitment to contribute to resolving the differences surrounding the election. For this reason, the EOM remains in place to continue providing technical-political support.

Reference: E-090/17