- Title: HONDURAS: Opposition wins disputed post-coup election/Rival concedes defeat
- Date: 1st December 2009
- Summary: LOBO AT VICTORY RALLY LOBO ON STAGE GIVING VICTORY SPEECH (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) HONDURAN PRESIDENT-ELECT PORFIRIO "PEPE" LOBO, SAYING "The people will never be defeated, they will always go forward. Today they demonstrated to the world another test of their abilities and determination." SUPPORTERS OF LOBO GATHERED FOR RALLY (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) HONDURAN PRESIDENT-ELECT PORFIRIO "PEPE" LOBO, SAYING: "Remember, as of this night, I will work to benefit all Hondurans. I will always have love and care for my party, but as of today I will work to benefit all Hondurans, without discrimination of political parties." VARIOUS OF SUPPORTERS
- Embargoed: 16th December 2009 12:00
- Location: Honduras
- Country: Honduras
- Topics: Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA2R65B2FEWBSAOI8UX999H7IH5
- Story Text: Opposition leader Lobo easily wins Honduran presidential election while ruling Liberal Party candidate Elvin Santos concedes defeat.
Conservative opposition candidate Porfirio Lobo easily won Honduras' presidential election on Sunday (November 29) in a vote that has put the United States at odds with leftist governments in Latin America.
Lobo, a rich landowner, had over 55 percent support with more than half the votes counted and his closest rival, Elvin Santos of the ruling Liberal Party, then conceded defeat.
As election results were announced after long delays that officials put down to technical problems, hundreds of supporters of Lobo's National Party waved flags and danced in a victory celebration at a hotel in the capital.
"The people will never be defeated, they will always go forward. Today they demonstrated to the world another test of their abilities and determination," Lobo told a crowd of cheering supporters at his acceptance speech.
The election could calm a five-month crisis which was sparked when the Honduran army overthrew leftist President Manuel Zelaya in June and flew him into exile.
Sixty-one-year-old Lobo is seen as more able than Santos to lead Honduras out of political gridlock and diplomatic isolation.
He encouraged Hondurans to pull together and vowed to work for the benefit of all.
"Remember, as of this night, I will work to benefit all Hondurans. I will always have love and care for my party, but as of today I will work to benefit all Hondurans, without discrimination of political parties," he said.
Washington commended Sunday's vote but leftist rulers of Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela and other Latin American countries say the election is invalid because it was backed by the coup leaders and could end any hope of Zelaya returning to power and completing his term, which is due to end in January.
The electoral tribunal said voter turnout was 61 percent, more than the previous election in 2005. But the OAS and United Nations refused to send observers to the election.
Lobo's primary challenger, Elvin Santos of the ruling Liberal Party, said the Honduran people had spoken.
"In a free and sovereign vote, Hondurans have decided to elect Porfirio Lobo Sosa as their next president of the republic. We are only left with complying with that will," he said.
Soldiers grabbed Zelaya from his home on June 28 and threw him out of the country, sparking Central America's biggest political crisis since the end of the Cold War.
Neither Zelaya nor his arch-rival Roberto Micheletti, installed as interim president by Congress after Zelaya's overthrow, took part in the race.
Lobo vowed on Sunday to end Honduras' isolation from countries like Brazil and international organizations such as the Organization of American States, or OAS, which have frozen Honduras out in retaliation for the coup.
Zelaya has been camped out in the Brazilian embassy since September when he slipped back into Honduras from exile. The embassy is surrounded by troops and police with orders to arrest him if he leaves.
The election, which was scheduled before the coup, took place mostly peacefully despite a spate of home-made bomb explosions in recent days and police firing tear gas at pro-Zelaya protesters in the city of San Pedro Sula.
Despite Zelaya's call for a boycott, large numbers of people formed lines at ballot stations. The electoral tribunal said voter turnout was 61 percent, more than the previous election in 2005.
The OAS and United Nations refused to send observers to the election.
Zelaya had upset Congress and the Supreme Court by forging an alliance with Chavez and hinting that the wanted to change the constitution to allow presidential re-election.
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