Protests in Honduras are Met with Government Action After Controversial Elections
Constitutional guarantees have been suspended in Honduras in response to protests after last week’s controversial election.
Presidential elections were held last week on November 26, 2017. The two leading opponents were incumbent President Juan Orlando Hernández of the National Party of Honduras (Partido Nacional de Honduras) and Salvador Nasralla of the opposition, made up of the Liberty and Refoundation (Libertad y Refundación) Party and the Innovation and Unity Party (Partido Innovación y Unidad Social Demócrata).
As it stands, there is still no declared winner. A week has passed and yet only 94.35% of the votes have been counted. President Hernández leads with a narrow 42.92% of the votes and Nasralla is trailing behind with a 41.42% of the votes.
Via tweet, Nasralla states the reason why these results are contested. Nasralla explains that the five- point advantage his party had with 60% of the votes counted was altered after the Supreme Electoral Tribunal’s system shut down for eight hours. Nasralla accuses the Supreme Electoral Tribunal of the manipulation of votes as the Supreme Electoral Tribunal is reluctant to recount more than 5,000 ballot boxes in which voter fraud is believed to have occurred.
As a result of the uncertainty relating to the presidential elections, and the suspicion of corruption and voter fraud, the citizens of Honduras have gone out to the street of the capital city Tegucigalpa to protest. Violent demonstrations have erupted in Honduras that include setting vehicles on fire, blocking major roads, and looting.
In an attempt to control the protests, the government of Honduras has responded by implementing a curfew between 6:00 pm and 6:00 am for the next 10 days.
Jorge Ramón Hernández, the Coordinating Secretary General of the Honduran Government, stated on television, “The executive decree orders the arrest of any person found outside the circulation hours established by the authorities or who is suspected of causing damage to person or property.”
Furthermore, the Executive Secretary of the Council of Ministers Ebal Díaz spoke on national television justifying government intervention: “The suspension of constitutional guarantees was approved so that the armed forces and the national police can contain this wave of violence that has engulfed the country.”
It is uncertain what constitutional guarantees are being suspended, but it is questionable if the government has such a right. Suspending constitutional guarantees may possibly lead to indiscriminate abuse of power, human right offenses, and other violations.