Porfirio Lobo wins Honduran presidential elections

Monday, November 30, 2009

Porfirio Lobo, a wealthy rancher, has won the presidential election in Honduras, with about 56% of ballots cast, according to results. Election officials say voter turnout was high, in spite of a call by ousted President Manuel Zelaya to boycott the poll. Lobo declared victory after election results showed a broad lead for the candidate from the opposition National Party.

Speaking at a rally late Sunday, Lobo told supporters he will work to improve security, create new jobs and restore international ties. Lobo noted that he wants to bring about profound changes that will enable Honduras to return to the place it was four years ago, before Zelaya took office.

"The people will never be defeated, they will always go forward. Today they demonstrated to the world another test of their abilities and determination," said Lobo at his acceptance speech.

Election officials said about 62% of voters took part in the vote, which eclipsed turnout figures from the 2005 election. The official numbers contradicted earlier claims from Zelaya, who said his supporters estimated that less than half of registered voters took part.

The ousted leader called on voters to boycott the election, saying the de facto government is illegitimate. Zelaya has been living inside the Brazilian embassy as Honduran officials seek to arrest him on charges of abuse of power and treason.

"We took a sample at the polls and the rate of abstentions was over 60 per cent in most cases," Zelaya commented to the Al Jazeera news agency. "This means the election had low turnout, which means it did not enjoy the support of the majority of the Honduran people."