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Weekly Report - 18 March 2021 (WR-21-11)

HONDURAS: Primaries reignite familiar concerns

Claims by Ana Paola Hall, the president of Honduras’s national electoral council (CNE), that the 14 March presidential primaries would be the “most transparent, free and fair electoral process of the last 12 years” are starting to ring somewhat hollow. Three days on and there have been no preliminary results from the election, in which the three main parties, President Juan Orlando Hernández’s ruling Partido Nacional (PN), the centrist Partido Liberal (PL), and the left-wing Partido Libertad y Refundación (Libre), were participating ahead of the 28 November general election. The CNE’s silence, despite having promised bulletins “every two hours”, has prompted multiple complaints against it as well as claims of fraud. On top of existing concerns about the calibre of candidates, the delays and lack of transparency surrounding the process have left civil-society groups like Red por la Equidad Democrática en Honduras (REDH) clamouring for the approval of a new electoral law (LEH) amid fears of a repeat of the 2017 general election which was widely seen as fraudulent, while post-electoral violence left at least 23 dead.

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