Honduras congress rejects Zelaya reinstatement

[JURIST] The Honduran National Congress [official website, in spanish] on Wednesday voted 111-14 not to reinstate ousted president Manuel Zelaya [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] who was removed by a military coup earlier this year. The vote was held [El Heraldo report, in Spanish] in accordance with the Tegucigalpa/San Jose accord [Honduras News materials], brokered [JURIST report] in October, which gave Congress the power to decide whether to allow Zelaya to serve out the remainder of his term ending January 27. Elections were held [NYT report] Sunday to determine who would succeed interim president Roberto Micheletti [CNN backgrounder], with conservative candidate Profirio Lobo Sosa [BBC profile] winning by a wide margin [La Prensa report, in Spanish]. The US has described [press release] Lobo's election as an important step in normalizing relations between the two countries, but emphasized that additional concerns about the country's political situation need to be addressed. Other members of the Organization of American States (OAS) [official website] have expressed differing opinions on the election results, with the presidents of Colombia, Costa Rica, Panama, and Peru having recognized the election results, and Brazil, Argentina, and Venezuela withholding support.

Last week, the Honduran Supreme Court [official website, in Spanish] issued a non-binding advisory opinion ruling that Zelaya could not legally return to office [JURIST report]. In July, the court refused [JURIST report] a petition by the OAS Secretary General calling for the reinstatement of Zelaya as the country's head of state. Zelaya was ousted [JURIST report] in June, following a judicial order [press release, in Spanish] asserting that he had broken Honduran law by attempting to conduct a controversial referendum on constitutional reform [JURIST report], contrary to a Supreme Court ruling. Zelaya has made several failed attempts to return to office, including attempting to fly into the country accompanied by international leaders.

 

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