TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras -- The election observation mission of the Organization of American States (EOM/OAS) in Honduras has called on leaders of political parties, and the general public, to wait patiently for the data from the count that began Sunday and to respect the official results given by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), as the only electoral authority, as established by the law.
The mission congratulated the citizens who exercised their right to vote peacefully and with conviction on Sunday. The mission noted that the vote took place in an atmosphere of calm and with a high voter turnout which, according to official data, may have reached more than 60% of registered voters, far exceeding the percentage of the vote in the last election.
Also, the mission recognized, in particular, the TSE, which demonstrated its commitment to organize the election in a professional manner. Its efforts to ensure an organized process that opened spaces for political parties and Honduran citizens for the evaluation of all the stages of the electoral process was especially appreciated.
The EOM/OAS, comprised of 82 technicians and observers, has accompanied the electoral process throughout all its stages from the initial announcement to the elections themselves. Since June, the mission observed, among other processes, the registration of candidates, the certification of the electoral roll, the preparations for the election, and also carried out an audit of the Integrated System of Electoral Scrutiny and Disclosure (SIEDE).
On the day of the elections the observers visited 426 polling stations in all the departments of the country. The mission noted an election day with conditions of normality in which nearly all of the polling stations opened on time and had all the necessary voting materials.
The mission considered it important to emphasize that there were elements that contributed to the transparency of the process and, therefore, give reliability to the preliminary results reported so far by the TSE. During the day, it was observed that the different political forces benefited from a high number of representatives at the polling stations. The mission noted the presence of representatives of the main political parties in at least 95% of the observed polling stations. This presence was maintained at key moments during Election Day: the opening, operation, and closure of the polling stations, and the completion of records.
The presence of political parties at the time of scrutiny of and completion of records added an additional element of transparency in these elections. Coupled with this, the public scrutiny, and even televised in some cases, was noted by the EOM/OAS and valued as an important factor contributing to the transparency of the process.
The EOM/OAS also highlighted the technical and logistical effort conducted by the electoral body to modernize its system of transmission of results by implementing the SIEDE, following up on one of the recommendations of the OAS from the last primary election. The mission also underscored the presence of the representatives of the political parties in the key phases of the SIEDE, and in that sense, urges the continuation of the work of auditing the entire process of official vote counting.
In an effort to observe the totality of the electoral process, the OAS missions remain in the host country after the elections. In this case, the mission will maintain its presence and observation work until the official announcement of results. The mission emphasizes the importance that the final vote count is carried out in the presence of the representatives and participants from all political parties.
The chief of mission, Enrique Correa, will return to Honduras to present the observations and recommendations of the mission on the various aspects of the electoral process.