Presidential candidate Xiomara Castro of the Freedom and Refoundation Party (LIBRE) is congratulated by Nasry Asfura, presidential candidate of the ruling National Party (PN), after Asfura admits defeat in Sunday’s presidential elections in Tegucigalpa , Honduras, November 30, 2021. Comite de Campana Partido Libre / Document via REUTERS / File Photo

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TEGUCIGALPA, December 7 (Reuters) – Honduran election officials on Tuesday began an unprecedented recount of some of the ballots in last month’s parliamentary elections after allegations of fraud and inconsistencies at some ballot boxes.

Leftist 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’ one-chamber National Congress.

Candidates for Congress from Castro’s Freedom and Refoundation Party and its ally, the Salvadorian Party of Honduras, accused the ruling National Party of “inflating” the vote count in their favor.

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The preliminary results give 61 seats to Castro’s party and his ally, with 43 seats in the National Party, 22 in the Liberal Party and the rest to minority groups.

As part of a verification and counting process, the votes cast in 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 would also be considered.

This is the first such count since the Central American country began holding free elections in 1982 after nearly two decades of military dictatorship.

Castro, who would take power on Jan.27 if the final results confirm her large advantage, has announced that she will repeal several laws that protect officials and MPs 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 count, 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.

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Reporting by Gustavo Palencia; Editing by Sandra Maler

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