Monday, September 21, 2009

Explanation why the Honduran November 2009 elections are valid

Honduras will go to general elections November 2009. Some countries, including the US, have indicated that they would not recognize these elections. The following arguments refute this opinion, based perhaps on a generalized ignorance of Honduran law, political history and/or stakes that seek to deny us the right as Honduras citizens to pick our own destiny as a democratic republic, OR some ulterior motive.

1) The “Honduran Elections Law” indicates that the “Supreme Electoral Tribunal” makes the calls for all elections. The President of Honduras has no role whatsoever implementing elections, expect for making budget transfers to fund elections. Mel Zelaya did not do this in 2009 perhaps anticipating that elections would not happen.

2) The “Honduran National Congress” selects and approves the membership of the “Supreme Electoral Tribunal”. Current members were elected in 2008 during the mandate of deposed president Zelaya.

3) The “Supreme Electoral Tribunal” makes the formal call for primary elections following a strict calendar. Primary elections for political parties were held in 2008 during Zelaya's government, elected candidates for each of the five traditional political parties plus one independent candidacy. The Organization of American States and other independent observers endorsed the primary elections as substantially complying with international norms for transparency and validity.

4) The “Supreme Electoral Tribunal” made the call by publishing in the official government newspaper “La Gaceta” for general elections on May 29, 2009. This is a month before former president Zelaya was deposed.

5) During and after the constitutional succession of June 28, 2009 nothing changed that could affect the elections process. The following organizations and processes remain in place and are operating according to Honduras law:
• Supreme Electoral Tribunal
• National Persons Registry
• Political Parties
• Candidates from traditional political and independent parties
• Elections calendar

7) The “Supreme Electoral Tribunal” has already ratified all six candidates and even followed the process for selecting candidate position in the presidential ballot.

8) The “National Persons Registry” has cleaned the national registry as much as possible with support from international cooperation agencies.

9) The elections will be open to all officially accredited observers, both national and domestic, who will observe the development of such elections.

10) Any claim that the current transition government will unduly pressure Honduran population and/or influence the electoral outcome, or ensure Mr. Micheletti staying in power, is plain wrong. Mr. Micheletti , the transition president, belongs to the same political party as the deposed president Zelaya and thus it is highly unlikely that it will negatively impact his own party, certainly if he tries to favor his own party, then the other parties’ representatives will denounce him thus ensuring that it does not happen.

Certainly, it would be inconceivable that Mr. Micheletti will favor the opposition party, considering the long adversarial history between both parties. Any attempt by Mr. Micheletti to remain in power is not acceptable to most Honduran citizens and will not be allowed to proceed.

The November 2009 elections will proceed independently of the turmoil brought about by the legally sanctioned separation of deposed president Zelaya. Furthermore, the claim that free and transparent elections cannot be held within the scope of a transition and/or de facto regime face our own national history where a military regime held elections in 1981 and civilian power took over in 1982. Notwithstanding Mr. Zelaya and other actors opinion, this type of election has been held in other parts of the world.

In conclusion, there is no legal or ethical reason for any country to question or doubt the validity of the November 2009 elections to be held in Honduras.

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