September 10, 2009

Honduran elections - The candidates

Honduran presidential candidatesHonduran presidential ballot
(click to enlarge)

Five of the six Honduran presidential candidates were selected by their party members in open, fair, and free primary elections, during the presidency of Mel Zelaya and officially blessed by the Organization of American States (OAS). The party candidates are Elvin Santos, Liberal party (PL); Pepe Lobo, National party (PN); Felícito Ávila, Christian Democratic party (DC); Bernard Martínez, Party of Innovation and Unity (PINU); and César Ham, Democratic Unification (UD) . César Ham is pro-Zelaya and pro-cuarta urna.

The sixth candidate, Carlos Reyes, is an independent who was qualified to run by the TSE after Zelaya left the country. He is also pro-Zelaya and pro-cuarta urna. Let me emphasize that: Carlos Reyes is pro-constitutional assembly, but his candidacy was approved by the independent Tribunal Supremo Electoral (TSE) after Mel Zelaya was no longer president.

So two of the six candidates are members of the Frente Nacional de Resistencia and pro-constitutional assembly (which is probably a better way to put it, since most of Zelaya's own supporters seem to be pulling away from him). If there truly is a majority of the population who want a constitutional assembly, they should have no problem at all electing their candidate. They are talking about pulling out one of the candidates in order to consolidate the pro-constitutional assembly vote.

In the last article, I told you about the Tribunal Supremo Electoral (TSE). President Micheletti has transferred 100% of the budgeted funds to the TSE so that they can manage the elections. Ex-President Zelaya had illegally and irresponsibly withheld operating funds (all but 2%) to pressure the TSE to go along with the cuarta urna. Some say it was an attempt to interfere with the November elections, which they believe that Zelaya never intended to hold.

President Micheletti has not, and I believe will not, endorsed or commented on any candidate but instead has given several speeches inspiring people to vote for the man who they think is best and promising safety to voters. President Zelaya was supporting (verbally and financially) a candidate of the UD party who has a shady reputation. Cesar Ham's own party tried to remove him from the UD party a few months ago.

President Micheletti will turn over the presidency on January 27, 2010, as required by the constitution, and has said that he will retire from politics. None of the candidates have expressed any fear about that.

President Micheletti will turn over control of the military to the TSE one month prior to the elections until the declaration of the election results, as required by the San José Accord. But the reason this will be done is not because of the San José Accord. It is because it is required by the Honduran constitution.

According to Article 272, this is done to guaranty the free exercise of suffrage, the custody, transportation, and vigilance of the election materials and all other aspects of security of the process. It has been done this way since 1982 and it will be done this way this year.

The ballot positions were selected in an open and fair process to which none of the candidates complained. The active campaign period began normally on September 1, with no pressure of any kind from the current government, the police, or the military.

If the world wants democracy in Honduras, they should be supporting free and fair elections so that the people can chose their next president, not sabotaging them by saying they won't recognize the election results. Hondurans listen to the world views, especially the US. To tell Honduran citizens that their elections will not be fair or valid is deliberate sabotage.

Honduras, along with most Central and South American countries, has a long history of dictatorships and military rule. If fair elections could not be held under such rules, then virtually none of those countries would be recognized by the world. Even Costa Rican President Arias has said that fair elections are possible. Please understand how ridiculous and how very undemocratic it is to condemn elections which show every sign of being the most fair and transparent ever.

Honduras has merely asked the world to come to see for themselves before judging. Send observers and then decide. Isn't that the fair thing to do?
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