TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) – Honduran electoral authorities on Tuesday began an unprecedented recount of some of the ballots in last month’s congressional elections after allegations of fraud and inconsistencies in some of the ballot boxes.
Left-wing politician Xiomara Castro won the presidency in the November 28 general election, but her ability to implement sweeping social reforms will depend on the balance of power in Honduras’ single-chamber National Congress.
Congressional candidates from Castro’s Freedom and Refoundation party and its ally, the Salvadoran Party of Honduras, have accused the ruling National Party of “inflating” the vote tally in their favor.
Preliminary results give 61 seats to Castro’s party and his ally, with 43 seats to the National Party, 22 to the Liberal Party and the rest to minority groups.
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As part of a vote verification and counting process, votes cast at 2,581 ballot boxes – representing 14% of polling stations nationwide – will be recounted.
Kelvin Aguirre, an official with the country’s electoral council, said other disputed ballots will also be considered.
It is the first such recount since the Central American country began holding free elections in 1982 after nearly two decades of military dictatorship.
Castro, who would take power on January 27 if the final results confirmed her large advantage, announced that she would repeal several laws that protect civil servants and deputies accused of corruption.
His main opponent, Nasry Asfura of the National Party, acknowledged Castro’s victory.
In the coming year, the Honduran Congress will elect a new Supreme Court as well as a new Attorney General.
Based on the current preliminary vote tally, Castro and his allies would need two-thirds of the vote to get their candidates through, which could only be achieved by uniting with the opposition, analysts said.
To change most laws, they would need a simple majority.
(Reporting by Gustavo Palencia; Editing by Sandra Maler)
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