TEGUCIGALPA: Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez on Sunday declared himself the winner of elections before official results were announced—and his top rival did the same.
“The result is more than clear: we won this election,” Hernandez told supporters who cheered him in the capital Tegucigalpa.
Shortly after his announcement, 64-year-old Salvador Nasralla of the leftist Alliance Against the Dictatorship coalition also proclaimed himself to be the winner.
Nasralla later reiterated that claim, telling his supporters “I am the new president of Honduras,” saying he was in the lead and could not be caught.
The opposition has denounced the Constitutional Court’s decision to allow Hernandez to run for re-election despite a constitutional one-term limit, a move that has sparked fears of a crisis in the crime-racked country.
A coalition of civil society observers cautioned against proclaiming victory without the official results.
“The emotion of the moment should not create situations that could fuel uncertainty and polarization of Honduran society,” the Electoral Observation Coalition said.
The president of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, David Matamoros, explained that he had not yet disclosed results because figures are not representative — although 40 percent of the ballots have been tabulated, they do not include the rural vote.
An estimated six million people were eligible to vote, electing not just a president but also members of Congress, mayors and members of the Central American Parliament.
“We have observed a quiet process; what we have seen so far has been positive,” said Marisa Matias, a European parliament observer from Portugal, one of some 16,000 monitors.
Hernandez’s conservative National Party—which controls the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government—contends that a 2015 Supreme Court ruling allows his re-election.
“Thanks to everyone for strengthening democracy,” Hernandez said on Twitter. “We are leading and we are going to win decisively.”
The opposition has denounced his bid, saying the court does not have the power to overrule the 1982 constitution.