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News > Latin America

Honduras: Hernandez Expects Dialogue to Start with UN Mediation

  • Demonstrators hold torches during a demonstration against the re-election of Honduras' President Juan Orlando Hernandez in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Feb. 3, 2018.

    Demonstrators hold torches during a demonstration against the re-election of Honduras' President Juan Orlando Hernandez in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Feb. 3, 2018. | Photo: Reuters

Published 9 February 2018

The president met with the U.N. mission and expressed his willingness to engage in dialogue with the leftist opposition under the organization's oversight.

After meeting with a United Nations mission Thursday, Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez said he hopes to begin a "dialogue" with the opposition soon to resolve the crisis stemming from his reelection in the November elections, which has not been recognized by the leftist Alliance of Opposition Against Dictatorship.

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"We are ready and we hope that soon the tables will be set up," said the president after the meeting with three envoys of the Secretary General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres, who are exploring the possibility of establishing a dialogue.

"I think that the meetings that they -the U.N. mission- have had have been very illustrative and above all what I could perceive is the great coincidence that we all want dialogue," Hernandez stressed in brief statements to the press in the Casa Presidential.

The meeting between Hernandez and the U.N.'s exploratory mission was scheduled for Friday, but it was pushed forward at the last minute.

The crisis erupted after the electoral authorities awarded the Nov. 26 presidential victory to Hernandez, who ran for a controversial reelection, after the first vote counts gave an advantage to the candidate of the Opposition Alliance Salvador Nasralla.

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The aftermath of the election saw large opposition demonstrations which was confronted by a brutal government crackdown that left more than 30 dead and hundreds of prisoners, according to human rights organizations.

After the electoral result, the Opposition Alliance called for a "popular revolt" and Nasralla said the president was elected through “fraudulent” actions by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal and thus he did not recognize the presidency of Hernandez, who was sworn in on Jan. 27 for a second consecutive term.

The exploratory mission of the U.N. arrived in the capital Tegucigalpa Tuesday at the request of the Hernandez’s government in order to support the national dialogue proposed by him, which is rejected by Nasralla and his party because they reject the very mandate of the president and would only engage in an international mediation to resolve the crisis.

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A day earlier Nasralla, as well as the Liberal Party, refused to meet with the U.N. mission but sent representatives to deliver demands for a possible mediation. While he said the meeting was fruitful, Nasrallah argued that the U.N. was “not interested in resolving the crisis” after its chief Guterres congratulated Hernandez on his controversial second term.

Nasralla is calling for electoral reforms and sanctions for non-compliance by any party or individual in case fraud was proven to have taken place in the Nov. 26 general elections by an independent international investigative team.

The opposition also demands an investigation into the more than 30 protesters killed during the protests, appointing mediators by mutual agreement and that the decisions taken are binding on all parties.

The U.N. mission is composed of Guatemalan Catalina Soberanis, Salvadoran Carlos Vergara, an expert in conflict resolution, and U.S. consultant Marcie Mersky, of the International Center for Transitional Justice. The are due to go back to New York Saturday and submit a report to the secretary general about the outcome of their meetings in Honduras and on how to proceed.

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