TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras, Nov. 25 (UPI) — The conservative ruling party and a leftist coalition both claimed victory in the Honduras presidential election.
With slightly more than half the ballots counted from Sunday’s voting, the ruling party held a 5 percentage point lead over the coalition led by the wife of a former president, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.
Juan Orlando Hernandez, candidate for the ruling National Party, had 34 percent of the vote while Xiomara Castro de Zelaya, the candidate for the Liberty and Refoundation Party, had 29 percent, preliminary results from Honduras’ Supreme Electoral Tribunal indicated.
Castro is the wife of controversial former President Manuel Zelaya, who was ousted in 2009 by the military.
Hernandez claimed victory, with his party saying he had received congratulatory phone calls from other Central American leaders, including Panama’s President Ricardo Martinelli, the Journal reported.
Castro also claimed victory and her party’s officials accused the election tribunal of manipulating the results by first counting districts where the ruling party candidate won. Party officials said the final result could change when all the ballots from throughout Honduras were counted.
Eric Olson, an analyst at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, told the Journal both parties were reckless in declaring victory so early in the ballot-counting process.
Up to 10 percent of polling places did not have electricity, meaning their results would take longer to tally, he said.
The ballot included a record nine political parties. Election observers said they noted few irregularities during voting.