United States backed the re-election of Honduran President

FILE PHOTO: Honduras President and National Party candidate Juan Orlando Hernandez gestures as he addresses the media at the Presidential House in Tegucigalpa, Honduras on December 5, 2017. REUTERS/Jorge Cabrera/File Photo

Vastavam web: The United States on Friday backed the re-election of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez despite widespread misgivings about the vote count, prompting the opposition candidate to describe his bid for the presidency as a “lost cause.”The United States on Friday backed the re-election of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez despite widespread misgivings about the vote count, prompting the opposition candidate to describe his bid for the presidency as a “lost cause.”

After the United States weighed in, Nasralla was pessimistic about his chances of winning support in Honduras, claiming in an interview with Reuters that the nation’s supreme court and electoral tribunal are in Hernandez’s camp.But he maintained that he had a path to victory at the international level, noting the Organization of American States (OAS) had called for new elections to resolve the dispute.Earlier in the day, Nasralla appeared all but ready to bow out of the race, saying in an interview with TV network France TV that his political career was over.

The United States followed Mexico and other Latin American countries in supporting Hernandez, who has been a reliable U.S. ally.The U.S. State Department congratulated Hernandez and said Honduras should pursue a “long-term effort to heal the political divide in the country and enact much-needed electoral reforms,” spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.The Honduras election tribunal’s declaration in Hernandez’s favor last week sparked violent protests in Honduras, and the OAS’s call for new elections has been rejected by the Honduran government.

Nasralla had been backed by former President Manuel Zelaya, a leftist who was ousted in a 2009 coup after he proposed a referendum on his re-election, which was barred by the constitution at the time. But Zelaya said Friday that Nasralla was no longer a member of his alliance.The Honduras election tribunal’s declaration in Hernandez’s favor last week sparked violent protests in Honduras, and the OAS’s call for new elections has been rejected by the Honduran government.Nasralla had been backed by former President Manuel Zelaya, a leftist who was ousted in a 2009 coup after he proposed a referendum on his re-election, which was barred by the constitution at the time. But Zelaya said Friday that Nasralla was no longer a member of his alliance.It also called for the electoral tribunal “to transparently and fully review any challenges filed by political parties.”

Hernandez has led a military crackdown against gangs in the Central American country, and Honduras’ notoriously high murder rate has slid since he took power in 2014.Nasralla said the U.S. decision reflected Washington’s strategic concerns over a leftist government in Honduras.