The US has recognized Juan Orlando Hernandez as the winner of the Honduran election.
The contested November 26 vote was marred by irregularities after the vote count was abruptly halted while the opposition was ahead. Both the Organization of American States and the European Union found irregularities that they said called into question the results.
"We congratulate President Juan Orlando Hernandez on his victory in the November 26 presidential elections, as declared by the Honduran Supreme Electoral Tribunal," State Department spokesman Heather Nauert said Friday.
Nauert said the close election results, the irregularities identified by the OAS and EU election observation missions, as well as strong reactions from Hondurans across the political spectrum "underscore the need for a robust national dialogue." Calling on the election tribunal to "transparently and fully review any challenges filed by political parties," Nauert also said that the US believes, "a significant long-term effort to heal the political divide in the country and enact much needed electoral reforms should be undertaken."
Early election results had shown opposition candidate Salvador Nasralla with a hefty lead with 60% of the vote counted, when public updates stopped for more than 24 hours and, when they resumed, showed the vote count steadily turning in favor of Hernandez, a US ally.
Concerns about fraud led Nasralla to travel to Washington to seek support from the US and the Organization of American States. The outcome was troubling enough that Democrats wrote to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to call for a repeat of the election.
Democrats also want Tillerson to denounce the crackdown on protests that erupted since the election, in which at least 17 people have been killed.
A crackdown on protests after the election has lead to at least 17 deaths
"We congratulate President Juan Orlando Hernandez on his victory in the November 26 presidential elections, as declared by the Honduran Supreme Electoral Tribunal," State Department spokesman Heather Nauert said Friday