Exit Polls Show Nasralla to Win Honduran Presidency – With a First Lady Who Praised Hitler

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Salvador Nasralla Honduran presidential candidate in Tegucigalpa on November 26, 2017
Salvador Nasralla Honduran presidential candidate in Tegucigalpa on November 26, 2017Credit: ORLANDO SIERRA/AFP

The first official polls in Honduras' presidential election showed incumbent conservative President Juan Orlando Hernandez trailing center-left opposition candidate Salvador Nasralla by five percentage points. 

Contrary to pollsters' predictions, Nasralla secured 45.17 percent to Hernandez's 40.21 percent based on a count of 57 percent of votes cast in Sunday's election, according to the Supreme Electoral Tribunal.

Over 90 percent of the votes had been processed in the key cities of San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa, according to presiding magistrate of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, David Matamotos Batson.

Earlier Hernandez and Nasralla both claimed victory in the election. 

Hernandez, a 49-year-old conservative, declared himself the winner after exit polls gave him almost 44 percent of the vote.

"I am content, happy," Hernandez told members of his National Party. "We won this election."

Center-left television presenter Nasralla, 64, declared however to his supporters: "I am the new president of Honduras."

Polls had put Nasralla in second place with 34.7 percent of the vote and right-wing academic Luis Zelaya in third with 17.7 percent, according to the company Ingenieria Gerencial.

Nasralla's wife, Iroshka Elvir, 25, was named Miss Honduras in 2015.  In April, she said in an interview that “Hitler was a great leader."

More recently wrote a letter to Latin America’s umbrella Jewish organization to apologize for praising Hitler.

“When I talked about Hitler I talked about his leadership because, to my understanding, he did not do anything good,” Elvir wrote in a letter addressed to the Latin American Jewish Congress after the organization, along with the Honduran Jewish community, slammed her remarks.

“The newspaper published that I admire Hitler, but it is not true, I never told them that I admired Hitler,” she said. “I am a great admirer of Israel, I love and bless that great nation. Receive my letter and my apologies since at no time did I want to offend any Jew.”

Elvin attached a photo in which she is portrayed holding an Israeli flag and closed the message with “Shalom.”

In December, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez in Jerusalem to seal a broad partnership in the defense and security fields.

The presidents of Guatemala and Ecuador have already congratulated Hernandez on his re-election. 

The government called on Hondurans to stay calm. Riot police were deployed in front of the electoral office, the El Heraldo newspaper reported. 

A second victory for Hernandez would be unprecedented in Honduras as the constitution bans re-election. 

But Hernandez based his candidacy on a 2015 Supreme Court ruling in favor of former president Rafael Callejas, who argued that the ban violated his human rights. 

While the opposition argued that the Supreme Court could not override the constitution, Hernandez insisted that he needed a second term to consolidate his achievements, such as improving security.

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