Salvador Nasralla, the former Honduran presidential candidate for the Opposition Alliance against the Dictatorship, said Friday that the “last chance” to prevent current President Juan Orlando Hernandez from acquiring a new term was Saturday, when he is expected to be sworn-in, because his re-election was carried out with “fraud”.
“Tomorrow is the last chance for Honduras to avoid a dictatorship, it is the last opportunity,” Nasralla told reporters before leading a convoy of vehicles from different neighborhoods of the capital Tegucigalpa. “People, hopefully you do not waste it because the dictatorships are atrocious.”
The new Honduran Congress held its first session Thursday, which the opposition protested and said was also void because the elections were fraudulent. Hernandez will be sworn-in in front of the country’s newly elected lawmakers Saturday.
But the the former candidate said the inauguration of the incumbent president will only be attended by 67 of the 128 lawmakers as members of his party and those of the Liberal Party will be absent in protest. Most of the attending deputies, 61, will be from the president’s own right-wing National Party.
Nasralla also said if people start gathering in the surroundings of the National Stadium, one location where the swearing-in is expected to happen, from the early hours of the morning, they could subdue the army securing the event and prevent Hernandez from being sworn in.
Nasralla will be leading the protest in Tegucigalpa against the president’s inauguration because he “is a person that the people did not choose.” Few hours before the event, there was no official confirmation of its location, whether it would be at the National Stadium, where it is traditionally held, or at the Central Bank.
Hernandez has proposed a national dialogue but Nasralla and the Liberal Party have so far refused to participate. Nasrallah argued that for such talks to take place it should be mediated by an independent international mediator whose decisions must be binding by a Honduran parliamentary decree.
Therefore if the dialogue broker decides that Hernandez is the president then he can continue in power, if it decides that new elections must be held then people must go to the polls again, and if it concludes that Nasralla is the president then he must assume take office, the former presidential hopeful further explained.
The anti-government convoy in the capital Saturday will also be led by the general coordinator of the Opposition Alliance, former Honduran President Manuel Zelaya.
Aside from the fact that it took almost a month for the Supreme Electoral Tribunal to announce the results of the Nov. 26 presidential election, the opposition’s main concern about the results came after Hernandez began to pull ahead after an hours-long technical problem caused the TSE system to “go down”.
When the system came back the sitting president steadily began to overcome Nasralla’s original five percent lead with over half of ballots counted, which experts had said would be irreversible.