Relative calm the day before elections in Honduras

15:45, November 29, 2009      

Email | Print | Subscribe | Comments | Forum 

A few hours before the general elections begin on Sunday in Honduras, people in Tegucigalpa, capital of the country, continued with their daily life in relative calm.

On the streets, some slogans urge voters to vote while other slogans call on them not to vote in an apparent show of the division that has plagued the nation since a coup ousted President Manuel Zelaya five months ago.

Police and soldiers can be seen at a few places, including the Central Park of Tegucigalpa, the Electoral Supreme Tribunal and the Brazilian embassy, where Zelaya is currently staying.

Nevertheless, for many Hondurans it was business as usual on Saturday. Restaurants and stores remained open and residents were taking a walk in parks and visiting shopping centers -- or just spending some time there enjoying the Christmas decorations on the streets and in shopping centers.

About 4.6 million Hondurans have been registered for the elections to choose the country's president, three vice presidents, 128 deputies to the National Congress, 20 members of the Central American parliament and 298 mayors among more than 13,000 candidates.

The country is divided in three groups -- those who see the elections as a solution to the political crisis and will go to vote, those who support ousted President Manuel Zelaya and consider these elections as illegitimate, and those who will not vote because they think the elections will not fix the problems.

A middle-aged man taking a walk in a park in a working-class district of Tegucigalpa, who only identified himself by Erik, told Xinhua he would not vote on Sunday because "if I do, it will be like supporting the coup."

Erik admitted that the elections are not the solution. "I have other things to worry about, like earning money to support my family."

He said he was "more worried about the economic crisis than the coup because we are a country that lives on remittances, which, with the economic crisis, have been reduced."

A peasant in the Central Park of Tegucigalpa, who would not give his name, said: "What Honduras needs is a change... We need to change, we have to fight poverty."

During the past several days, there have been some minor blasts of small homemade explosive devices, which caused no casualties but have fueled speculation of possible attacks on election day.

Police forayed into a clandestine explosives-producing site near the capital city early Saturday morning. They dismantled a small lab in a two-storey house in the Tiloraque district, southwest of Tegucigalpa.

Polling stations will open 7:00 a.m. and first results will be ready two hours after polls close at 4:00 p.m.

As Hondurans prepared to vote, differences remain over the legitimacy of the elections in the international community.

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.

But Canada, the United States, Panama, Costa Rica, Colombia and Peru have said they will recognize the outcome of the elections as long as they prove to be transparent.

Source: Xinhua
  • Do you have anything to say?
Special Coverage
Major headlines
Editor's Pick
Most Popular
Hot Forum Dicussion