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Honduras' electoral court declares president election winner

President Juan Orlando Hernandez has been declared the winner of Honduras' disputed election after three weeks of uncertainty and unrest in which at least 17 people died in protests amid allegations of vote fraud from the opposition.

Electoral court president David Matamoros made the announcement, saying, "We have fulfilled our obligation (and) we wish for there to be peace in our country."

According to the court's official count, Mr Hernandez won with 42.95% to 41.42 % for runner-up Salvador Nasralla, who well before the announcement had challenged the result and said he would not recognise it.

His Opposition Alliance Against Dictatorship has called for more protests on Monday.

Earlier in the day, Mr Nasralla travelled to Washington to present what he called "numerous" examples of evidence of alleged fraud. He said he planned to meet with officials from the Organisation of American States, the US State Department and human rights groups.

"We will seek an international response to help the will of the Honduran people to be respected in order to end the political crisis we face," Mr Nasralla said at the international airport of Tegucigalpa before departing.

The first results reported by the electoral court before dawn the day after the November 26 election showed Mr Nasralla with a significant lead over Mr Hernandez with nearly 60% of the vote counted.

Then public updates of the count mysteriously stopped for more than a day, and when they resumed, that lead steadily eroded and ultimately reversed in Mr Hernandez's favour.

The electoral court recently conducted a recount of ballot boxes that presented irregularities and said there was virtually no change to its count. Since then it had been considering challenges filed by candidates.

Despite widespread suspicions of malfeasance, especially among mR Nasralla's supporters, mR Matamoros defended the court's performance. He said it had presided over "the most transparent electoral process ever seen in Honduras".


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