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Latin America

U.S. says it is close to recognizing Hernández as winner in Honduras election

But the United States is delaying final judgment in case opposition presents new evidence of fraud, an official told Reuters on Wednesday.
20 Dic 2017 – 05:31 PM EST
Juan Orlando Hernández, presidente reelecto de Honduras. Crédito: Photo by M. Castillo/AP

The United States has seen no evidence to alter the official results of the Honduran presidential election announced on Sunday, but is not ready to declare incumbent President Juan Orlando Hernández the winner in his controversial bid for re-election, a senior U.S. State Department told Reuters.

The announcement comes despite detailed allegations of fraud by the Organization of American States (OAS) observer mission to Honduras, which recommended that new elections be held.

"At this point ... we have not seen anything that alters the final result,” the official told reporters at the State Department, adding that Washington may wait to make a final decision until Friday, the deadline for filing evidence to contest the results.

The U.S. response came after Mexico, Colombia and Spain recognized Hernandez as the winner, though many other nations have so far declined to do so.

The Organization of American States called for new elections late Sunday, saying "the electoral process was characterized by irregularities and deficiencies, with very low technical quality and lacking integrity."

It cited "deliberate human interference in the computer system," in some polling stations in certain parts of the country, favoring Hernández.

Opposition leader Salvador Nasralla visited Washington on Monday and Tuesday alleging that Hernandez stole the election. But U.S. State Department officials were unimpressed after meeting with him on Monday.

“He did not have any new (allegations of) fraud (or) evidence to present to us, and I think we are going to work through this quickly to get to a definitive U.S. statement,” the official told Reuters, adding that the decision by Mexico weighed heavily on the position of the United States. "The Mexicans seem pretty certain in their statement,” he said.