Honduras' Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) has bestowed upon incumbent Juan Orlando Hernandez the credentials officially declaring him president for the next four years in the wake of last year's widely disputed elections.
"President Juan Orlando Hernandez today visited the TSE building, where he was awarded with his new credentials that confirm him as the new ruler of the Honduran people for the next four years," the TSE said in a statement on its website.
Hernandez's first term as president began in 2014 after he won the elections with 36 percent of the votes amid a historic 61 percent voter turnout.
The Honduran constitution originally barred him from eelection, but that decree was overturned by the TSE in a controversial 2015 vote.
According to the TSE, Hernandez looked "very satisfied" when he was handed the document by the Magistrate President David Andres Matamoros Batson.
Violent protests erupted across the nation after Hernandez was declared victorious in last year's elections, which international observers and the opposition both insist were rigged.
Both main candidates, Hernandez from the National Party and Salvador Nasralla from the Opposition Alliance, initially declared themselves the winner after polls closed.
But final results were delayed for several days, raising suspicion about their legitimacy and the TSE's political independence.
After much wrangling, Hernandez was declared the winner with 42.95 percent of the votes versus Nasralla's 41.42 percent. Hernandez's National Party will occupy almost half the seats in Congress: 61 out of 128.
According to TSE magistrate Marco Ramiro Lobo, former Bolivian president Jorge Quiroga – head of the Organization of American States (OAS) observation mission – told TSE directors that Nasralla had won just days after polls closed.
However, the OAS said in a press release that the elections had been of "poor quality," as did the Electoral Observation Mission of the European Union, and that in such conditions it was impossible to declare any of the candidates victorious.
The document issued Friday, which officially declares Hernandez the next president, due to be sworn in January 27, says the TSE decision was "unanimous" and guarantees the recommendations by the EU and the OAS were taken into account.