Honduras’ electoral court finished a hand recount of votes in nearly 5,000 ballot boxes Sunday, saying that results were “extremely consistent” with original data for the presidential election two weeks earlier.
Court president David Matamoros said the recount of less than one-third of the total number of boxes showed that tallies done at polling stations were well-executed.
The court’s original tally put President Juan Orlando Hernandez ahead by more than 52,000 votes, or 1.6 percent, in the presidential election of Nov. 26.
But the electoral process was plagued by delays and inconsistencies, and the main opposition candidate, Salvador Nasralla, formally challenged the results Friday and demanded a full recount.
The electoral court has 30 days from the contest to declare a winner, potentially placing an announcement square in the holiday season.
Thousands of Nasralla supporters protested in multiple cities Sunday.
“They have stolen the votes from us,” Nasralla said at a march in the capital that ended in a three-hour demonstration outside the U.S. Embassy. “This country will be ungovernable starting now.”
Nasralla accused the United States, the European Union and the Organization of American states of being “accomplices to fraud.”
U.S. Charge d’Affaires Heide Fulton issued a statement reiterating “our call for all involved in the electoral process to support a transparent, impartial, timely and peaceful determination of the election result, consistent with Honduran law, in a manner that maximizes citizen participation and represents the will of the Honduran people as expressed in the November 26 election.”
Observers from the EU and the OAS have said numerous irregularities have not allowed them to be certain about the results’ validity.