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The Honduran Elections: Persistent Courage Trumps Attempted Tyranny

The electoral commission had webcams at various sites so that the world could watch. Many television stations were available on the internet. The usual suspects whined -- before, during, and then after the elections -- but to little effect.

Massive turnout was reported in Tegucigalpa, the capital city, as of 10:30 on Sunday morning. According to Liberal Party candidate Elvin Santos:

We are delighted by the huge and massive influx to the polls, that we are all very happy. What happens now is that we are moving forward so dramatically and we expect that turnaround that is taking forward. Our preliminary reports and what is happening in San Pedro Sula Olancho tell us that we are heading for a resounding success.

Due to heavy voter turnout, the polls were kept open an extra hour, until 5:00 p.m. local time (6:00 p.m. EST). International observers from Mexico and Guatemala declared that the election was exemplary. The OAS will decide what it wants to do on December 4 -- after the National Congress decides whether to reinstate Zelaya. Red-faced? Well, maybe.

Overall participation in the electoral process was at approximately 61 percent of all 4.6 million registered voters (compared with 55.38% during the 2005 presidential elections). Porfirio Lobo, from the center-right Nationalist Party, won with 56 percent of the vote (preliminary count) and will assume the presidency.

"Today begins a new era in the history of Honduras, Change It begins today," he said, referring to the slogan of his campaign. ... [His principal opponent] Sosa thanked Hondurans mainly because they turned out to vote to legalize the electoral process. "Thanks to the nationalists for having a strong and outstanding participation," he said. ... "There are no winners or losers, [except the winners] the Honduran people and their right to live in peace and democracy."

Sixty-one-year-old Lobo lost to Zelaya by 73,000 votes in the 2005 presidential election. This time, he is taking the middle course. Lobo stresses that he will tackle social injustice, poverty, and insecurity. Meanwhile, he advocates unity among Hondurans. Only in that way can Honduras achieve reform, and the people obtain liberty, democracy, and prosperity.

Lobo has also promised to try to establish amicable relations with Zelaya. Lotsa luck.

Now the big question is which countries will recognize the new government with Lobo as president, beginning on January 27 for a single term of four years. The United States will do so, as will Panamá and Colombia, both of which sent special ambassadors to Honduras to observe the elections. Peru probably will do so as well. The German Parliament expressed support for recognition of the elections, and Taiwan has also done so. Ditto Israel, the representative from which is in Honduras to observe the elections. The representative stated on November 28:

Obviously, my presence is unquestionable support given by the people of Israel to the people of Honduras in this election. ... I think the government of Israel will recognize the logical outcome of these elections and the president-elect who will take office in the month of January next year.