Monday, February 01, 2016

Something new in Honduras?

Is something new happening in Honduras?

For about a week the National Congress has been trying to elect a new set of fifteen magistrates for the Supreme Court. As of this morning, only eight have been elected.

The blog "Honduras Culture and Politics" has a good analysis here of why it’s not a good process

In former years the process would have gone very quickly, carefully arranged by the two traditional parties that “shared” control of the government – the National Party and the Liberal Party. In previous years the party that controlled congress would have its way. In many ways this is what the National Party, which controls the Presidency and has a plurality in Congress, hoped for.

But some things are different this year.

On the one hand the US government is very interested in who are elected and the US Embassy has expressed it concern about some of the original list of candidates.

But there is another change, this time within the Honduran National Congress. There are now two parties that don’t accept the two-party monopoly, as noted by Leticia Salomón in an article (in Spanish).

LIBRE, established from the Resistance that grew up in response to the 2009 coup, and PAC, the Anti-Corruption Party, founded about 2013 by a former sports journalist, refused to go along with the machinations of the two parties. They have forced the process of elections in Congress to be more transparent and they have been more forthright in opposing certain candidates.

It’s not that theses parties are without their problems and continue the process of party control. As I understand it, LIBRE is trying to force all LIBRE congressional members to vote as the leadership tells them and has castigated at least one member who opposed this procedure.

But something new is happening even as some see the presidency and his National Party as trying to control all the organs of government and establish this control for the future by their appointments to the Supreme Court and other government institutions.

But my question is always, “What is happening at the grass-roots?” Are the parties, even LIBRE, really listening to them and responding to them?

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