Dec 3, 2009

FROM TEGUCIGALPA. WINNER IS CLEAR, BUT TURNOUT QUESTIONS REMAIN

NOVEMBER 30, 2009

Fuente: Americas Quarterly
by Daniel Altschuler

Porfirio Lobo will be Honduras’s next President. Consistent with recent polls, Lobo, the National Party candidate, won a resounding victory over Liberal Party candidate Elvin Santos. The results were unambiguous, and Santos quickly conceded victory while Lobo and the National Party celebrated their victory. This sharply contrasts with the 2005 elections, when doubts remained about the results for over a week and speculation about vote-rigging abounded. In 2009, conversely, the question is not who won, but how many people voted. The turnout question will now become the centerpiece of the debate on the election.

After rampant speculation regarding possible Election Day protests and violence, Sunday’s elections took place under relative tranquility. The military and police were out in full force on Sunday to protect the elections, and security concerns were high enough to warrant canceling flights from the United States. There was some reported repression of protesters in San Pedro Sula, raids on pro-Zelaya groups’ offices, and temporary jamming of pro-Zelaya media. Generally, however, Honduras was quiet, and those that opposed the elections stayed at home instead of risking arrest by protesting. By mid-afternoon, the capital was a ghost town, with political propaganda everywhere but virtually no one on the streets and few cars on the road.

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