A Honduran Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) employee has said that the director of the Organization of American States (OAS) observation team concluded that Salvador Nasralla was the legitimate winner days after voters went to the polls Nov. 26.
Marco Ramiro Lobo, a magistrate within the TSE says that Jorge Quiroga - head of the OAS observation mission for the Honduran elections and former president of Bolivia - told TSE directors that Nasralla had won only days after the election was held.
Lobo says the statement was made in the presence of Guatemala’s former president, Alvaro Colom, also an OAS election observer.
“Ex-president Quiroga told the TSE that Salvador Nasralla had won the election” just days after polls closed.
“Quiroga took a pencil and paper and calculated some numbers and concluded that Salvador Nasralla was the winner,” says Lobo.
According to Lobo, Quiroga’s conclusion came when 85 percent of all ballots had been counted and Nasralla, of the Opposition Alliance coalition, was well in the lead. The only way that incumbent Juan Orlando Hernandez could have been re-elected was if the remaining ballots were 100 percent in his favor.
Quiroga's team released its final report on the Honduran presidential elections in late December and concluded that, "It’s not possible to confirm if the (electoral process) was manipulated or if fraud occurred.” His team did not push for a new election as was proposed by the OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro, and considered the case closed with Hernandez the official winner.
Quiroga has not responded to Lobo’s statements.
Nasralla has repeatedly accused the TSE and its director, David Matamoros of "stealing" the election from him and refuses to recognize Hernandez as the president-elect.
Lobo goes on to say that former presidents and other heads of the OAS observation team “asked the TSE to immediately announce the results to the people of Honduras,” but that TSE leaders wanted to wait till all votes were counted.
Lobo says that the OAS observation directors repeatedly asked TSE leadership to announce Nasralla as the winner, but were ignored.
“I’m not afraid to be investigated. I have nothing to hide. … What I’ve said is the truth and I’ll continue to say it,” Lobo tells Honduran media.
He has maintained that Nasralla was the presidential victor the day after polls closed.
Lobo adds that former advisor to President Hernandez, Marvin Ponce, called him personally to ask him to retract this statement. He also claims to have had “strong conversations” with Matamoros regarding the electoral count process.
“The Honduran people have the right to know what happened,” Lobo asserts.
The Opposition Alliance has organized a national strike and major protests to take place Jan. 20-27 in the week leading up to the swearing in of Hernandez.