USA recognizes disputed re-election of Honduran President

Honduran opposition leader accepts defeat as US steps in

Numerous irregularities were also reported by global observers such as the Organization of American States (OAS), which requested new elections.

A group of 20 Democratic legislators asked Thursday the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to support a repetition of the presidential elections held last month in Honduras, given the irregularities found by the Organization of American States.

Nauert said the close election, along with issues identified by the OAS and the European Union, demonstrate the need for Honduras to openly review all challenges to the results.

The state department issued a statement on Friday congratulating Hernandez on his victory, but also urged the country's electoral commission to fully review any challenges to the results.

Democrats also want Tillerson to denounce the crackdown on protests that erupted since the election, in which at least 17 people have been killed.

Amid this controversy, Honduras continues to face waves of vandalism and protests that sometimes result in roadblocks.

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 United States ally.

At the same time, the United States extended its official congratulations to the incumbent president for his apparent re-election in the controversial polls while calling for "much-needed electoral reforms" and insisting the public should remain calm.

"With the decision by Washington, I am no longer in the running", Nasralla told the HCH television station. U.S. officials said that he did not present evidence to back up his allegations of fraud. When they restarted, Nasralla's large lead had disappeared. "But how can you have stability without democracy?" he said.

Thousands of protestors gathered outside the USA embassy in Tegucigalpa Thursday night, carrying crosses bearing the names of those killed in the post-election violence. We urge Honduran citizens or political parties challenging the result to use the avenues provided by Honduran law.

Uproar over the contest led to demonstrations in Honduras that left numerous civilians dead after state security forces opened fire on the protests.

In a letter to secretary of state Rex Tillerson on Thursday 20 members of the House of Representatives called for the USA to support the OAS' decision, noting the U.S. "has spoken out forcefully to express concerns about electoral processes in Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia and Cuba".

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