Honduran main presidential candidates deny connection between elections and coup

14:16, November 28, 2009      

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The two main presidential candidates in Honduras on Friday denied any connection between the general elections to be held on Nov. 29 and the country's political crisis, ignited by the military coup against ousted President Manuel Zelaya five months ago.

Elvin Santos, presidential candidate for the right-wing Liberal Party, told reporters that the elections were a constitutional mandate issued every four years for the Honduran people to choose their president and deputies to the National Congress.

"They are not summoned by any ousted, temporary, or de facto president, but by the Electoral Supreme Tribunal," Santos said.

Meanwhile, Porfirio Lobo Sosa, the candidate from the right-wing National Party, also ruled out a connection between the elections and the coup, saying the November elections were summoned on May 28, 2008, and by December 2008, all the presidential candidates have already registered.

Lobo also called on countries not to reject the elections, adding "the elections are the solution (to the political crisis), not the problem," and no country could reject its people's right to choose.

On Monday, Zelaya issued a statement to urge the international community not to recognize the upcoming elections, after which he would be unlikely to be reinstated as president.

Zelaya's followers on Friday held rallies at the Honduran National Resistance Front Against the Coup, demanding the suspension of the upcoming elections due to the current troubles in the country, such as the violation of human rights and repression.

Rafael Alegria, the leader of the rally group, said several assemblies would take place on Saturday morning in various neighborhoods of Tegucigalpa. He also called on Zelaya's supporters to stay at home on the day of the elections as a sign of protest.

Considering the political crisis in Honduras, countries such as Brazil and Argentina have voiced their rejection of the elections in the Central American country.

Both Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Argentine President Cristina Kirchner have demanded the restitution of President Zelaya as a way to reestablish constitutional order and democracy in the country.

By contrast, the United States, Canada, Panama, Colombia and Peru have said they would recognize the outcome of the elections.

On Sunday, about 4.6 million Hondurans are to choose president, three vice presidents, 128 deputies to the National Congress and 298 mayors in the elections.

The Honduran Army said on Friday it had finished distributing all electoral ballots to the country's 18 departments, and each of the 5,248 voting centers nationwide would be guarded by two soldiers.

Source: Xinhua
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