Two Honduran presidential candidates announced in a communiqué on Sept. 9 that they will not participate in the Nov. 29 general elections unless four conditions are met: the return of President José Manuel Zelaya Rosales, who was removed from office by a military coup on June 28; an end to human rights violations; the demilitarization of Honduran society; and an end to a slander campaign against the leftist Democratic Unification (UD) party, which currently holds four of the 128 seats in the Congress. The two candidates are former union leader Carlos H. Reyes and legislative deputy César Ham, who heads the UD. Both are active in the National Front Against the Coup d’Etat, the leading resistance coalition; the front issued a communiqué on Sept. 7 calling for a boycott of “the electoral farce called by the coup perpetrators.”
The announcements by the front and the two leftist candidates seemed to conclude a debate within the resistance on whether to participate in elections under the present circumstances. The president, three vice presidents, 256 legislative deputies and alternates, 40 deputies to the Central American Parliament, and 298 mayors are to be selected in the balloting, which was scheduled in May before the coup; some 7.5 million Hondurans are eligible to vote. The de facto government headed by Roberto Micheletti—along with the two traditional parties, the National Party (PN) and the Liberal Party (PL)—have been hoping that the November vote would give them a way to legitimize Zelaya’s removal. (AP, Sept. 9; Frente Nacional Contra el Golpe de Estado communiqué #23, Spt. 7)
Most countries, including the US, have indicated that they won’t recognize elections held under the de facto government. On Sept. 10 the European Commission announced in Brussels that the European Union will not send observers to the November vote if it is overseen by the coup regime. (Latin American Herald Tribune, Sept. 10 from EFE)
Honduran business owners reportedly have a new strategy for making the elections successful. They are considering a plan to “give a discount in all the businesses to people who vote, so that people will go to the stores with the ink on their fingers [after voting] and get an automatic discount on any purchase they make anywhere in the country,” National Association of Industries of Honduras (ANDI) president Adolfo Facussé said in the Sept. 9 issue of the daily La Tribuna. The goal is “to strengthen democracy and overcome voter abstention,” Facussé told the paper, which is owned by his cousin, former president Carlos Flores Facussé (1998-2002). (La Tribuna, Sept. 9)
In addition to clarifying its position on the elections, the National Front used its Sept. 7 communiqué to announce the formation of a National Coordinating Committee for the next three months, a commitment to “struggling for a Constituent Assembly” to rewrite the 1982 Constitution, and an effort to defend longtime environmental activist Father José Andrés Tamayo from the de facto government’s efforts to deport him to his native El Salvador. The front also announced the formation of an International Commission to coordinate solidarity work with activists outside Honduras. (Frente Nacional communiqué #23, Sept. 7/09; Comisión Internacional Nota informativa #1, Sept. 7; Prensa Latina, Sept. 8; Honduras Coup 2009 blog, Sept. 7).
From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Sept. 13
See our last post on Honduras.