In undoubtedly the most internationally observed Honduran election in history, Honduras itself came out the winner with 61.3% percent of eligible voters turning out to vote. This was an almost ten percent increase over the 2005 election in which now-deposed President Manuel Zelaya won with 49.9% of the vote. This time, the National Party presidential candidate Porfirio “Pepe” Lobo won 56% of the vote in a surprising landslide victory over Liberal Party candidate Elvin Santos who won only 38% of votes, but had the backing of Honduras’ influential business community. Lobo lost to Zelaya by a small margin in 2005.
Perhaps the biggest loser was Manuel Zelaya himself who had hoped that a low turnout would bolster his claim that the election was illegitimate – this morning he continued this assertion saying that the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) had inflated the result and that, in reality, there had only been a 31-35% turnout. In fact, several countries have already recognized the results, among them the United States, Germany, Mexico, France, Italy, Switzerland, Japan, Indonesia, United Arab Emirates, Peru, Costa Rica, Columbia, and Panama. Spain remains divided over the results of the election carried out by the de facto regime, but Spanish chancellor Miguel Angel Moratinos said that while the country does not yet “recognize the election results,” they also “cannot ignore” the popular support won by Pepe Lobo. Argentina, Brazil, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Uruguay, Ecuador, and Bolivia continue to insist that they will not recognize an election carried out by any other president than their political ally Manuel Zelaya.
The Organization of American States will convene on Friday, December 4th to discuss the election results and decide whether or not to recognize them – just two days after the Honduran Congress votes on whether or not to allow Zelaya to carry out the last month of his presidential term. This congressional vote was agreed upon by both Zelaya and Micheletti when they signed the Tegucigalpa-San Jose Accord on October 30, bringing a beginning to the end of the political crisis that has paralyzed the country since June 28. However, while Zelaya signed the accord believing he would quickly be returned to office, Micheletti put off the vote until after the general elections to ensure that Zelaya would not interfere with them. Congress is not expected to approve Zelaya’s return to power.
By Sophia Anderson