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Mexico recognises Honduran president as winner of disputed election

Honduras President Juan Orlando Hernandez talks with an unidentified person during a funeral mass for his late sister Hilda Hernandez in Tegucigalpa, Honduras December 18, 2017. REUTERS/Jorge Cabrera

(reuters_tickers)

By Gabriel Stargardter

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico recognised Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez on Tuesday as the winner of last month's election, just days after the Organization of American States called for a fresh vote to dispel widespread allegations of fraud.

The statement by Mexico, an important player in Central America, strengthened 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 favour.

"Mexico respectfully calls for the democratic institutions, the political forces and the people of Honduras, in a mark of respect and agreement, to definitively conclude this electoral process," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

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 recognised Hernandez, a staunch U.S. ally.

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

The statement was requested by Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray, 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 centre-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; additional reporting by Julia Love; editing by Grant McCool)

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