Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05TEGUCIGALPA752
2005-04-07 22:09:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Tegucigalpa
Cable title:  

HONDURAN PRIMARIES: LOBO AND ZELAYA'S TICKETS

Tags:  PGOV PREL KDEM ECON ETRD SNAR KJUS PINR HO 
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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TEGUCIGALPA 000752 

SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA, WHA/PPC, WHA/USOAS, AND WHA/CEN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/07/2015
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM ECON ETRD SNAR KJUS PINR HO
SUBJECT: HONDURAN PRIMARIES: LOBO AND ZELAYA'S TICKETS
EACH WON OVER 100 OUT OF 128 OF CONGRESSIONAL SLOTS

REF: A. TEGUCIGALPA 411

B. TEGUCIGALPA 410

C. TEGUCIGALPA 393

Classified By: Acting Deputy Chief of Mission Francisco Palmieri;
Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TEGUCIGALPA 000752

SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA, WHA/PPC, WHA/USOAS, AND WHA/CEN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/07/2015
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM ECON ETRD SNAR KJUS PINR HO
SUBJECT: HONDURAN PRIMARIES: LOBO AND ZELAYA'S TICKETS
EACH WON OVER 100 OUT OF 128 OF CONGRESSIONAL SLOTS

REF: A. TEGUCIGALPA 411

B. TEGUCIGALPA 410

C. TEGUCIGALPA 393

Classified By: Acting Deputy Chief of Mission Francisco Palmieri;
Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).


1. (U) With vote counting (and re-counting) over, the
official results are now final: President of Congress
Porfirio "Pepe" Lobo Sosa won the February 20 Nationalist
Party primary, beating his chief opponent, Mayor of
Tegucigalpa Miguel Pastor 62.3 to 34.9 percent. Liberal
Party candidate Mel Zelaya won with 56.3 percent, topping an
eight-candidate field. Zelaya's Liberal Party primary drew
900,000 voters, while the participation in the National Party
primary was 800,000 voters. As a result, Zelaya out-polled
Lobo 440,000 to 420,000. Overall voter participation in the
primaries was 46 percent. Trailing Zelaya in the Liberal
Party, Jaime Rosenthal obtained 18.7 percent and Gabriela
Nunez 11.7 percent. Puerto Cortes Mayor Marlon Lara exceeded
expectations and obtained 5.7 percent, while 2001 nominee
Rafael Pineda had 4.3 percent, an extremely poor showing.

Lobo and Zelaya Supporters Dominate Congressional Tickets
-------------- --------------


2. (U) Lobo's supporters won 107 of 128 National Party
congressional slots, with Pastor's supporters winning the
remaining 21. Zelaya's supporters won 102 of 128 Liberal
Party congressional slots, with Rosenthal's supporters
winning 13, Nunez's supporters winning six, Pineda's
supporters winning three, Lara's supporters winning two, Hugo
Noe's supporter's winning one, and Jorge Reina's supporters
winning one. A significant percentage of voters voted for
the entire ticket of Lobo and Zelaya, with another
significant group voting only for some of Lobo/Zelaya's
congressional candidates, leaving other slots blank, which
helped lead to the overwhelming victory of the leading

presidential candidates' slates. That base of support made
it very hard for strong individual congressional candidates
from losing factions to break through in the primaries. This
result ironically complicates efforts to bridge internal
divisions in the parties, because losing slates had little to
gain by quickly supporting the winning candidate, since few
of their supporters will be part of the general election
tickets.

As Well as Key Mayoral Races
--------------


3. (U) In Tegucigalpa, Lobo's mayoral candidate Ricardo
Alvarez beat Pastor's candidate Nasry "Tito" Asfura, 58.4 to
39.8 percent. In San Pedro Sula, Lobo's mayoral candidate
Arturo "Tuky" Bendana beat Pastor's candidate Oscar Kilgore
49.1 to 37.7 percent, a decisive defeat for the incumbent.
On the Liberal side, in Tegucigalpa Zelaya's candidate
Enrique "Kike" Ortez Sequeira edged out Rosenthal's candidate
Eliseo Castro 39.5 to 33.6 percent. In San Pedro Sula,
Zelaya's candidate Rodolfo Padilla Sunceri beat Rosenthal's
candidate Harry Panting 34.9 to 22 percent. Once again, the
dominant victories of Lobo and Zelaya helped carry their
mayoral candidates to victory.


4. (SBU) In La Ceiba, Pastor's candidate Ramon Leva beat
Lobo's candidate Carmen de Munoz, bucking the national trend.
That victory, combined with a strong congressional showing
by Pastor supporters in the Atlantida Department (which
includes La Ceiba) by winning four of eight slots, including
the first three, has established Pastor ally Rodolfo "Fito"
Irias Navas, a charter member of the National Party "dark
side," as the National Party godfather in Atlantida.

Pollsters Earn an A
--------------


4. (U) The pre-election polls turned out to be very accurate;
they were spot on Zelaya's vote and if anything they
understated the eventual margin of victory by Lobo. They
were also very accurate on the mayoral races. This bodes
well for upcoming polling for the general election.

Irregularities, But No Pattern of Fraud
--------------


5. (C) Despite an relatively clean bill of health from the
Organization of American States' Election Observation
Mission, the count was marred by minor irregularities at
specific voting sites and a large number of recounts (25
percent of Liberal Party sites and 15 percent of National
Party sites according to the OAS). Catholic Church officials
shared with the Embassy that it had received numerous and
substantiated reports from its priests and adherents of
vote-buying by the Pepe Lobo campaign.


6. (SBU) Comment: The Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) took
some heat in the post-election period, but performed better
than expected given its problems. With the Presidency of the
TSE switching from Nationalist Jacobo Hernandez to Liberal

SIPDIS
Aristides Mejia May 17 for a one-year period, there is still
much work to be done to prepare for the general elections.
Technical assistance funded by the USG, which was critical in
the primaries, will be a key factor in ensuring the TSE is
able to conduct the general elections (and vote count)
successfully. End Comment.
Palmer