Honduras President and National Party candidate Juan Orlando Hernandez gestures as he addresses the media at the Presidential House in Tegucigalpa, Honduras December 5, 2017. REUTERS/Jorge Cabrera
WASHINGTON, Dec 20 (Reuters) - The United States has seen no evidence that would alter the results of the Honduran presidential election but is withholding final judgment for now, a senior U.S. State Department official said on Wednesday.
"At this point ... we have not seen anything that alters the final result," the official told reporters, saying Washington may wait to make a definitive judgment in case the opposition presents additional evidence of fraud in the election in which U.S. ally Juan Orlando Hernandez has claimed victory.
Mexico recognized Hernandez on Tuesday as the winner, days after the Organization of American States called for a new vote to dispel widespread allegations of fraud. The statement by Mexico, an important player in Central America, strengthened Hernandez's case and could tilt other countries in his favor.
"The Mexican statement, and its review, indicates that a call for a new election is a pretty dramatic outcome in this case," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The United States may hold off on making a final judgment until the end of a five-day period when the opposition can produce further evidence to contest the results, the official added.
He said a U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state met on Monday with center-left opposition leader Salvador Nasralla, who has accused Hernandez of stealing the election, sparking violent nationwide protests.
"He did not have any new (allegations of) fraud (or) evidence to present to us, and I think we are going to work through this quickly to get to a definitive U.S. statement," said the official, suggesting the United States might not wait for the five-day period to pass.
"The Mexican statement is going to have a strong influence on whether we think we can move forward sooner. The Mexicans seem pretty certain in their statement," he said.