Till Bitter End
Both Candidates for Liberal Party’s Congress Seats See Themselves as Winners

February 1st, 2009
by Thomas Tomczyk

[private] Bay Islands was one of four Honduran departments where a total of 67 challenges of results were made of the Liberal Party internal elections for congress seats. Liberal Party’s presidential candidate Elwin Santos and runner-up presidential candidate Roberto Micheleti have gone through a process of recounts, challenges and, in some cases, appeals to the supreme court of Honduras to hear their cases.

One of the more bitter battles has taken place for the single, out of the total of 128, congress seat of Bay Islands, one of the strongest departments economically of Honduran Departments. Ernesto Wesley, Micheleti movement candidate, has now been declared as winner over Dorn Ebanks, the Elwin Santos candidate. Wesley, 36, is a land developer and owner of an accounting firm. Dorn Ebanks, 40, is an ex-Bay Islands governor and owner of an airline company in Honduras and in Haiti. Both candidates were born in Coxen Hole.

While results declaring Dorn Ebanks were published in La Gazeta in early January, the country’s official journal, Wesley says that a challenge to these results was exercised within the prescribed five days. Wesley explained that Micheleti lawyers working on his behalf successfully challenged the recount, saying that only 50 out of the 58 ballot boxes were counted in the recount. Wesley says that he has not been notified by the National Election Tribunal about how many votes he has won by, but his own records show that he was ahead by 37 votes.

Wesley believes that he has won Municipalities of Utila, Santos Guardiola, many parts of Roatan and even Guanaja where he admittedly didn’t even campaign. “If you run four times for elections and lose, something is wrong,” says Wesley about his opponent.

Ebanks has a different view on the matter and remains suspicious of the process. “They [National Election Tribunal] had no explanation of how this [the reversal of the decision] happened,” says Ebanks. He added that he has three lawyers working on his side, two hired by Ebanks’ presidential running mate and one hired with his own money.

While Ebanks still believes he will receive his party’s nomination, he is preparing to enter the November 29 national elections as an independent, reportedly with Elwin Santos’ approval. “Nobody in Honduras’ history has run as an independent for a Congress seat,” says Ebanks, whose decision to run on independent ticket is likely to weaken the Liberal Party in the Bay Islands and increase chances of Romeo Silvestri, the National Party’s candidate, winning the congress seat. [/private]

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