Honduras' electoral court finds results 'consistent'

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TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) — Honduras' electoral court finished a hand recount of votes in nearly 5,000 ballot boxes Sunday, saying results were "extremely consistent" with original data for the presidential election two weeks earlier despite delays, irregularities and allegations of fraud leveled by the main opposition candidate challenging President Juan Orlando Hernandez.

Court president David Matamoros said the recount of less than one-third of the total number of boxes showed that tallies done at polling stations were well-executed. He said later that the court was now proceeding to the phase of considering electoral challenges, some 150 of which it had received.

The court published what it called a final count Sunday night, showing 43 percent for Hernandez and 41.4 percent for challenger Salvador Nasralla, virtually identical to the pre-recount tally.

The court still did not declare a winner, however. It has 30 days from the contest to do so, potentially placing an announcement during the holiday season.

Nasralla has demanded a full recount and refused to recognize the results, calling them fraudulent. His alliance called for a nationwide strike Monday, including blockades of the country's main highways.

"The action is due to the fact that we do not accept the results of the elections," party leader Juan Barahona said.

Thousands of Nasralla supporters protested in multiple cities.

"They have stolen the votes from us," Nasralla said at a march in the capital that ended in a three-hour demonstration outside the U.S. Embassy. "This country will be ungovernable starting now."

Nasralla accused the United States, the European Union and the Organization of American states of being "accomplices to fraud."

U.S. Charge d'Affaires Heide Fulton issued a statement reiterating "our call for all involved in the electoral process to support a transparent, impartial, timely and peaceful determination of the election result, consistent with Honduran law, in a manner that maximizes citizen participation and represents the will of the Honduran people as expressed in the November 26 election."

Observers from the EU and the OAS have said numerous irregularities have not allowed them to be certain about the results' validity.

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