Int'l community at odds on Honduran general elections

20:01, December 01, 2009      

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The political crisis in Honduras has continued for more than five months since President Manuel Zelaya was ousted on June 28 and forced to flee to Costa Rica in a coup led by Congress leader Roberto Micheletti.

Under the Tegucigalpa-San Jose Accord reached on Oct. 29, the two sides agreed to form a unity government and to hold general elections on Nov. 29.

Opposition candidate Porfirio Lobo claimed victory of the election but the newly elected president is now facing an international division.

Many countries, especially those in Latin America, refuse to recognize the new government and insist on Zelaya's immediate restoration to the presidency.

Others, however, including the United States, Canada, Peru, Costa Rica, and Panama, have decided to recognize the outcome of the election so as long as the process proves to have been clean and transparent.

VOICES AGAINST ELECTIONS

The Honduran issue dominated the 19th Ibero-American Summit held in Estoril, Portugal, on Monday. While differences remain, the participant countries have pledged to release a statement during the summit.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said Monday in Estoril that his government would not recognize the results of the voting and would not "reconsider" its negative stance on Honduras' general elections.

Zelaya has been staying in the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa since returning to Honduras in late September.

Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Mortatinos sided with Brazil, saying that Spain neither recognizes the elections nor "ignores them."

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez urged the Ibero-American countries (Latin America, Portugal, Spain and Andorra) to not recognize Honduras' "illegitimate government."

"To recognize the illegitimate result of these illegal elections would be a betrayal to the principles of peace, democracy and justice," Rodriguez said.

Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Taina said "the elections cannot be valid if they are hosted without President Zelaya being restored to power."

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet said the elections in Honduras should not imply the validity of the coup because "it will set a grave precedent and bring a series of threats for Latin America."

Bolivian Foreign Minister Alfredo Rada said his country would not recognize the new president of Honduras or the electoral process.

Meanwhile, the presidents of Nicaragua, Uruguay and Guatemala also expressed their opposition to the election and the legitimacy of the new government.

VOICES IN FAVOR

On the other hand, the United States has voiced support for the general elections and urged both sides of the country's political stalemate to implement a reconciliation accord in order to end the crisis.

Micheletti earlier unilaterally announced the formation of a unity government without the participation of Zelaya and his representatives.

Zelaya then declared the Tegucigalpa-San Jose Accord "dead," which worsened the situation and brought resolution of the issue to a deadlock.

U.S. State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said Sunday that the turnout "shows that given the opportunity to express themselves, the Honduran people have viewed the election as an important part of the solution to the political crisis in their country,"

The election held in Honduras on Sunday was supervised by 580 international observers, most from the United States.

Following the U.S., Colombian President Alvaro Uribe said during the summit that "Colombia recognizes the new government, and the new democratic election process in Honduras of high participation, which cannot be questioned."

The Costa Rican government hailed the election outcome as "the decision of the Honduran people of seeking an exit to the crisis by a pacific and civic route."

Juan Carlos Varela, the vice president and foreign minister of Panama, said in Estoril that his government recognized the legitimacy of the election and considers "it is a very important step to overcome the crisis."

Canada and Peru also said they recognize the outcome of Sunday's elections.

Source: Xinhua
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