Mexico to recognize Honduran president winner of disputed election: sources

Honduras President Juan Orlando Hernandez looks on during a funeral mass for his late sister Hilda Hernandez in Tegucigalpa, Honduras December 18, 2017. REUTERS/Jorge Cabrera

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico is poised to recognize Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez as the winner of last month’s election, according to a draft foreign ministry statement seen by Reuters, just days after the Organization of American States called for a fresh vote to dispel widespread allegations of fraud.

Mexico’s announcement was brokered in coordination with the United States, two sources who spoke on condition of anonymity said. The presidents of Guatemala and Colombia had recognized Hernandez, a staunch U.S. ally.

A statement by Mexico, an important player in Central America, would strengthen the position of Hernandez, who declared himself president-elect on Tuesday. It could pave the way for more countries, including the United States, to weigh in the incumbent’s favor.

“The government of Mexico congratulates Juan Orlando Hernandez for his victory in the general elections,” Mexico’s foreign ministry wrote in a draft of the statement seen by Reuters.

The Mexican foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The statement was requested by Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray and awaits final approval, one of the sources said. Honduras’ ambassador in Mexico was alerted of the move on Monday. The embassy did not immediately respond to request for comment.

It is likely to enrage the center-left opposition, led by TV star Salvador Nasralla, who has accused Hernandez of stealing the election, sparking violent nationwide protests.

The General Secretariat of the OAS on Sunday said the election was plagued with irregularities and should be redone to meet democratic standards.

Reporting by Gabriel Stargardter; editing by Grant McCool