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Honduran Opposition Candidate Urges U.S. To Join Call For Re-Vote

Dec 19, 2017
Originally published on December 19, 2017 5:39 pm
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RAY SUAREZ, HOST:

The president of Honduras says he's been re-elected, and he's brushing off calls for a new vote. But his opponents are filing a legal challenge, and one man who believes he won last month's election is now in Washington asking for help to resolve this political standoff. More than 20 people have been killed in recent protests in Honduras. NPR's Michele Kelemen reports.

MICHELE KELEMEN, BYLINE: TV host and opposition candidate Salvador Nasralla introduces himself to reporters as the president-elect of Honduras. And for an hour and a half at the National Press Club in Washington, he blasted the country's current president, Juan Orlando Hernandez, accusing him of massive vote fraud. And now Nasralla says the country is on the edge of an abyss.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

SALVADOR NASRALLA: (Speaking Spanish).

KELEMEN: "Honduras runs the risk of falling into an undesired and fratricidal civil war with unforeseen consequences," he said, adding that he came to ask the international community for support to prevent a tragedy. Nasralla wants to make sure the U.S. does not recognize the president's claim of re-election, and he says the U.S. should follow the lead of the Organization of American States, which called for a revote. The OAS asked a Georgetown University elections expert to study the vote tally, and what Irfan Nooruddin found was that the vote count changed dramatically after two-thirds had been counted when Nasralla was ahead.

IRFAN NOORUDDIN: It practically is as if there was a second different election entirely, that after that point, all the trends that existed in the first approximately 12,000 polling stations that had been counted are completely reversed and different.

KELEMEN: So he told the OAS to look at these results skeptically. He says he hasn't been in touch with U.S. officials over this. The State Department is urging politicians in Honduras to resolve this peacefully. Michele Kelemen, NPR News, the State Department. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.