TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) – At least one protester died, over 20 people were injured and more than 100 others were arrested for looting in Honduras after a delayed presidential vote count sparked unrest amid opposition accusations of electoral fraud.
Honduras will publish the final result of last Sunday’s presidential election at 9 p.m. local time (0300 GMT) on Friday, the head of the country’s electoral tribunal, David Matamoros, said. The count was halted several times due to technical problems, the tribunal has said.
The electoral court will also hand-count some 1,031 outstanding ballot boxes, or roughly 6 percent of the total, that had irregularities, Matamoros said.
Election results initially favored opposition candidate and TV star Salvador Nasralla by five points with half the votes counted. They then swung in favor of U.S.-backed President Juan Orlando Hernandez after the count came to a halt on Monday and resumed over a day later.
With the regular ballot count completed, Hernandez, of the center-right National Party, had a lead of fewer than 50,000 votes.
Luis Larach, president of business lobby COHEP, told Reuters that the slim, 1.5 percentage point difference between the candidates meant the hand-count would be crucial.
“For me, it’s still up in the air,” he said.
International concern has grown about the electoral crisis in the poor Central American country, which struggles with violent drug gangs and one of the world’s highest murder rates.
Police sources said at least one man had been shot and killed at a protest in the city of La Ceiba, while about 12 members of the military and police force had been injured in demonstrations that snarled traffic outside Honduras’ main port on Friday and around the country.
At least 10 protesters were injured in the capital of Tegucigalpa, according to the city’s Hospital Escuela.
Military officials called for peaceful protests after police reports of looting in the capital and other cities.