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Lobos seeks legitimacy for post-coup election win

Article published on the 2009-11-30 Latest update 2009-11-30 13:26 TU

 Lobo, candidate of Honduras' National Party, addresses the audience after winning the presidential elections in Tegucigalpa, 29 November 2009.(Photo: Reuters)

Lobo, candidate of Honduras' National Party, addresses the audience after winning the presidential elections in Tegucigalpa, 29 November 2009.
(Photo: Reuters)

Conservative Porfirio Lobo, who has won the controversial first Honduran presidential elections since last June’s coup, has vowed to form a national unity government and to bring back foreign investment.

Lobo, widely known as Pepe, partly owes his victory to the distance he kept from the political crisis tha followed the coup, according to RFI's French service Tegucigalpa correspondent Patrick John Buffe.

And he was helped by divisions in the Liberal Party, which was behind last June’s putsch.

“He wants to bring national reconciliation,” according to Buffe “He’s already announced that he was going to promote, as of December,       full dialogue within the whole of society.”

About 4.3 million voters turned out, according to partial but inverifiable results, and 59.9 per cent placed their hopes in the 61-year-old right-winger in a bid to find an exit to the five-month crisis which followed hte ousting of President Manuel Zelaya.

“There’s no time for more divisions,” Lobo told a crowd of supporters on Sunday night.

The United State's Department spokesperson Ian Kelly referred to the election as “necessary and important step forward” underlining the US’s support on Sunday.

Peru, Panama and Costa Rica, who played mediating roles during the first crisis talks, say they will accept the result, while other countries while Lobo claims that France, Poland Colombia and Japan, are  likely to follow.

But Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela, as well as other left-wing governments in the area, will not recognise the result because they say the move would mean endorsing the military coup. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a Zelaya ally, has denounced the vote as a “farce”.

Zelaya, who has been holed up in the Brazilian embassy since September and had called for a boycott of the vote, has accused the de facto authorities on Monday of inflating the turnout figures.

Police fired teargas and water cannons at Zelaya supporters in the northern city of San Pedro Sula, who were protesting against the poll. Many rights groups complained of an environment of intimidation and fear prior to the elections.

Many independent observers, including right-wing US groups, monitored the vote after both the United Nations and the Organisation of American States declined to assist.

Honduras’s Congress is due to vote Wednesday on the brief reinstatement of Zelaya before January when his term runs out.

Zelaya’s rival Roberto Micheletti who also belongs to the Liberal Party, said he will return to the de facto leadership.

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