Voter turnout was seen as a crucial factor in persuading more countries to back the poll. Although it started out light, it appeared to pick up considerably, and Honduran election officials said it was high enough to keep the polls open for an additional hour. High turnout could represent another setback for Mr. Zelaya, who had urged supporters to boycott the poll.Interestingly, both Zelaya and Micheletti are from Honduras' liberal party but the turnout and early returns indicate that a conservative candidate is going to win.
Mr. Zelaya's removal at gunpoint in June caused a stir in Honduras and abroad, where the global community condemned the ouster as a coup. Honduras's political institutions, including its congress and supreme court, backed the ouster as the legal removal of a president who they said was illegally trying to get himself re-elected -- charges Mr. Zelaya denies.
Neither of the two men claiming to be president during the past five months -- Mr. Zelaya and interim President Roberto Micheletti -- was on the ballot. Instead, Hondurans chose between Mr. Lobo of the conservative National Party and Elvin Santos of the Liberal Party -- to which both Mr. Zelaya and Mr. Micheletti belong.Frankly, Micheletti is probably rooting for Lobo based on what he's had to deal with since assuming power - power he appears to be all too willing to relinquish (unlike Zelaya).
The vote, seen as punishing the Liberal Party for the crisis, hands power to Mr. Lobo, a conservative rancher who was narrowly beat by Mr. Zelaya four years ago. "It's going to be Pepe this time," said Higenio Garcia Ponce, 74, an agricultural laborer who said he had just voted for Mr. Lobo. "There was a rupture in the Liberal Party over what happened with Zelaya."
Micheletti should be considered a hero of Honduras. He has stood on principle and he has stood against the world. While he hasn't crossed the finish line yet, he appears to have won. The United States has already indicated that it will recognize the winner of this election.
Only the U.S., Costa Rica and Panama have said they will accept the winner, though other countries, including Mexico and Canada, appear to be leaning that way as well. The government is betting that U.S. recognition will lead other nations to back down from earlier positions. "They may not recognize the elections Sunday itself, but I believe they will at some point in the future," Mr. Lobo said Saturday.If the results of this election come out the way it looks like they might, Micheletti will have been far more victorious than Lobo. What Micheletti will have accomplished with the election of a conservative and a smooth transition of power with the world against him is nothing short of Churchillian.
Well done, Roberto.
Read the ENTIRE WSJ piece.