Polls closed at 4 pm yesterday and the Tribunal Suprema Electoral (TSE) unusually did not extend voting hours. Salvador Nasralla (Opposition Alliance) and Juan Orlando (national party) both declared themselves the Presidential winners around 7-7:30 pm-ish. By 1:30 am, over 8.5 hours after polls had closed, the TSE magistrates had not announced anything. Inside the TSE election headquarters, tons of people waited around with anticipation and suspicion that something really odd was going on. Many people told me that the TSE had never taken such a long time to announce election results and thought fraud was happening or results were coming in that the TSE magistrates did not expect. The situation was tense. People didn't know what was going on and it created a lot of confusion, mistrust, and speculation. At 11:30 pm, i was told that 73% of the vote tally sheets nationwide had been received and digitized by the TSE but still, no announcements.
At midnight, Nasralla held a press conference declaring himself the Presidential winner. But still for an hour after that, TSE Magistrates stayed inside a meeting room likely delaying or trying to figure out how to make an announcement that JOH was losing based on preliminary vote tallies. At 1:30 am, JOH held a press conference to his diminished crowd saying that they were going to wait until all the tallies were in. At 1:40 am-ish, the TSE magistrates held a press conference saying that Nasralla was in the lead with 45.17% and JOH 40.21%. During the press conference, Opposition alliance supporters gathered outside the TSE headquarters chanting, dancing and celebrating.
Apparently 90% of the vote tally sheets from urban areas have been counted and its expected that JOH is using the rest of the rural tally sheets yet to be counted to create doubt of Nasralla's 5% lead.
After the TSE finished their press conference, there were lots of celebrations outside by Oposition Alliance supporters, mostly LIBRE folks. Then they started a caravan around many parts of the city until about 4 am. people came out of their houses to cheer the caravan on.
The Alliance has called for a gathering/protest at 2 pm but that was announced before last night's preliminary results went out. Nothing yet about congressional seats which will be important to watch because it seems likely that between the National Party and Liberal Party (long standing allies), they may take a significant chunk (maybe 45%) of the congress. This is just speculation. Also, who knows what will happen between now and a few days from now, funny business is likely although many don't believe that the Nasralla victory is reversible at this point.
See HSN's twitter: @hondurassol for constant updates