Last day to make formal challenge to Honduras' election

Last day to make formal challenge to Honduras' election

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TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) — International observers urged Honduras' opposition Friday to file a formal complaint about the country's troubled Nov. 26 election as the deadline fast approaches.

Challenger Salvador Nasralla and his opposition alliance have demanded a total recount that would exclude Honduras' electoral court. Complaints must be filed by midnight Friday.

Both Nasralla and incumbent Juan Orlando Hernandez have claimed victory.

On Thursday, the European Union's election observation team reminded candidates that the deadline was nearing. Later, the United States' top diplomat in Honduras urged the electoral court to carefully consider any additional complaints it receives.

U.S. Charge d'Affaires Heide Fulton said in a statement that observers from the EU and the Organization of American States had found some irregularities in the election process.

Meanwhile, the electoral court was conducting a hand count of votes in nearly 5,000 election boxes whose results were not registered the night of the election. By Friday afternoon the votes from more than 400 ballot boxes had been counted.

The electoral court said in a statement that the count could last five to six days. Civil society representatives and international monitors were overseeing the count.

Hernandez held a lead of more than 52,000 votes, or 1.6 percent, in the original tally.

Reinaldo Sanchez, leader of Hernandez's National Party, called for the electoral court to pick up the pace "so that Hondurans can know the president-elect."

But Nasralla said the court had no credibility. "It no longer enjoys the trust of Hondurans because of improper manipulations," he said.

Nasralla's supporters said they would mount more protests in the capital.

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