THE electoral commission of Honduras (TSE) will not declare a winner in the presidential election, held on November 26th, until after a recount of some kind. The first count suggests that Juan Orlando Hernández won re-election. He beat Salvador Nasralla, a sports broadcaster, by 42.98% to 41.38%.
Mr Nasralla charges that the result is fraudulent. A weird and chaotic vote-counting process has strengthened that suspicion. After releasing preliminary results from 57% of ballot boxes, which showed Mr Nasralla with a lead of five percentage points, the TSE stopped reporting on November 27th without explanation. After publication of results resumed on the afternoon of November 28th, Mr Nasralla’s lead disappeared. That looks fishy.
The Economist has analysed the results to figure out whether someone falsified the count. Our findings are not conclusive, but they suggest there are reasons to worry.
If the results released by the TSE at each stage of the count were a representative sample of the country, the odds of the shift it reported from Mr Nasralla in early results to Mr Hernández in later ones would be close to zero. Mr Hernández has explained his luck by saying that the later ballots come from rural areas, where his National Party is stronger.