Honduras: incumbent declared the winner, OAS rejects that and calls for a new election
See the OAS election analysis by Georgetown professor Irfan Nooruddin
The OAS General Secretariat on the Elections in Honduras
December 17, 2017
The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, calls for peace and coexistence in Honduras, while endorsing the denunciations and conclusions of the Electoral Observation Mission of the Organization (EOM/OAS) in Honduras, made public today.
The work of this Mission to ensure the best electoral conditions and to make democracy sustainable in Honduras has been commendable.
Its observations, based on technical knowledge and the accumulated experience of observation of elections in the hemisphere, have presented solutions to the most serious problems and irregularities that this electoral process has posed.
The proposed solutions are based on the responsibility and commitment that we must always have with the instruments of the Inter-American system.
Democracy is built on the certainty of genuine respect for the expression of the popular will in the Rule of Law.
That is why, having received the preliminary report of the Electoral Observation Mission in Honduras, as well as the report on compliance with the stages recommended for the verification process, the OAS General Secretariat cannot give assurance regarding the outcome of the elections held on November 26.
As previously reported by the EOM, the electoral process was characterized by irregularities and deficiencies, with very low technical quality and lacking integrity.
Deliberate human intrusions in the computer system, intentional elimination of digital traces, the impossibility of knowing the number of opportunities in which the system was violated, pouches of votes open or lacking votes, the extreme statistical improbability with respect to participation levels within the same department, recently printed ballots and additional irregularities, added to the narrow difference of votes between the two most voted candidates, make it impossible to determine with the necessary certainty the winner.
The Honduran people deserve an electoral exercise that provides democratic quality and guarantees. The electoral cycle that the TSE concluded today clearly has not met those standards.
For the aforementioned reasons, and given the impossibility of determining a winner, the only possible way for the victor to be the people of Honduras is a new call for general elections, within the framework of the strictest respect for the rule of law, with the guarantees of a TSE that enjoys the technical capacity and confidence of both the citizens and political parties.
The peace and harmony of the Honduran people is the main objective. And respecting the democratic values of citizens is the proper way to preserve society from death and violence.
The OAS General Secretariat makes an explicit and unequivocal call to all parties to avoid violence.
The channels of political dialogue must be rebuilt without tension or sectarianism.
It is the permanent vocation of the OAS General Secretariat to accompany Honduras on this path. That is why I have decided to designate as Special Representatives former Presidents Jorge Quiroga and Alvaro Colom to carry out the necessary work for a new electoral process and national democratic reconciliation in Honduras.
I ask all parties to support the work of the former Presidents. I am convinced that it is the only way for Hondurans to live in democratic peace and move forward in the path of shared prosperity.
There is no more important task for this General Secretariat than promoting, protecting and ensuring the rights of the people of the Americas.
This is the same consistent and impartial path that the General Secretariat is carrying out throughout the hemisphere and that must be what guides our efforts in Honduras.
As we have pointed out, in all the countries of the hemisphere, democracy can be improved, and in this context, cooperation among member countries and the General Secretariat is the main tool that the legal instruments of the Inter-American System set forth to strengthen their effective use in the hemisphere.
The OAS has not made efforts to declare a winner of either Juan Orlando Hernandez (as has been said) or Salvador Nasralla; but has respected the right to suffrage and the right to choose of the Honduran people who are the only losers in a day like today.
There are no conditions to affirm that the winner is one or the other, and this shows that this process has been affected by marked irregularities and deficiencies, by the violence of one side or the other before, during and after the election.
The denunciations made are particularly serious, they make it impossible to grant any certainty to the result of this electoral process.
The Honduran people do not deserve irresponsible attitudes or pronouncements, they deserve the maximum guarantees.
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