José Alfredo Saavedra
President of the Honduran National Congress
National Congress of Honduras rejects the restitution of Sr. José Manuel Zelaya Rosales
The legislative body reaffirms its support for the constitutional succession that brought Roberto Micheletti Bain to the Presidency
TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras, 02 December, 2009 - With a vote of 111 in favor and 14 against, the National Congress of Honduras today overwhelmingly rejected the restitution of Mr. José Manuel Zelaya Rosales to the presidency of the Republic. Also, Congress passed a motion supporting the succession leading to the constitutional presidency of Mr. Roberto Micheletti Bain. Members in turn strongly and affirmatively expressed of the permanence of President Micheletti in office until January 2010, confirming Decree 141-2009, with 111 votes for and 14 against. The president-elect of the Republic, Porfirio "Pepe" Lobo will take office on January 27, when the new President of Congress will place the presidential sash.
In making that decision, Congress fulfills the responsibility that fell on the legislative body under section five of the Agreement Tegucigalpa / San José, which was signed last October 30 by representatives of President Micheletti Bain and Mr. Zelaya Rosales. As stipulated in paragraph five, the Congress "To achieve reconciliation and to strengthen democracy, in the spirit of the theme of the proposed agreement of San José, both negotiating committees have decided to respectfully submit that the National Congress, as an institutional expression of popular sovereignty, exercising its powers, in consultation with the instances that it deems appropriate such as the Supreme Court of Justice and in accordance with the law, resolve as appropriate in respect "to roll back the ownership of Executive Power to its previous status as at 28 June, until the conclusion of the current governmental period on 27 January 2010". Contrary to public statements from various sectors, the agreement makes no type of recommendation with regard to due result of this decision, it only required that the same was done.
"For the second time, this Congress has spoken strongly that Mr. Zelaya Rosales not be restored to the presidency. For the second time, the congressmen elected by the Honduran people have raised their voices in defense of our constitution and democratic system of government. There will not be a third time. We demand that the international community respect the final decision of this legislative body, where the popular sovereignty of our people resides," said José Alfredo Saavedra, President of the National Congress and member of the Liberal Party.
Before making its decision, Congress sought views on the legality of the possible return of Mr. Zelaya Rosales from several entities of the government of Honduras. As dictated by the Tegucigalpa / San José Agreement, the Supreme Court of Justice, the Solicitor General's Office, the Commissioner Human Rights, and the Attorney General, presented reports.
These opinions and consultations for the consideration of the Honduran congress were made available to members of Congress, even though these were not binding on its final decision.
The decision against the return of Mr. Zelaya Rosales to the presidency, was overwhelmingly supported by members from all political parties represented in Congress.
"This Congress has fulfilled its responsibility under the Agreement Tegucigalpa / San José in a transparent and democratic manner. We call on all of the international community and regional bodies, including the Organization of American States, to respect our sovereignty. Having elected a new president, all Hondurans have already begun the process of national unity and reconciliation. Those seeking to continue the controversy and to perpetuate the political crisis in our country are obsessed with the past and personal agendas and not the welfare of our country," added Ramón Velásquez Nazar, Vice President of Congress and member of the Christian Democratic Party of Honduras.
The Honduras National Congress consists of 128 deputies who represent 5 political parties. Deputies are elected every four years by the Honduran people for a period of four years.
Tegucigalpa, Honduras, 02 December, 2009
Emphasis added by LG.
The original declaration in Spanish can be found on Ulf Erlingsson's blog (hat tip to Ulf). The above is my translation. If you use it, please credit me and link back to the Blogicito.
Ulf also has an interesting article about Zelaya's resignation letter. CholusatSur, Canal 36, who never hesitates to slander people, has accused Congresswoman Marcia Villeda of forging the letter. She in turn has asked the Attorney General's office to investigate forensically whether the letter was forged. Ulf has more information.