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So there was an election today in Honduras. Results are preliminary but it looks clear that the winner is Juan Orlando Hernández, the candidate of the ruling National Party. Of the two traditional political parties, the National Party is the right wing one; the Liberal Party is the left wing one, but the candidate they fielded, Mauricio Villeda, was not considered Hernandez' main competition as he seemed to come across rather weak. The politics of Honduras has been somewhat upended in the last four years; partly as a result of the removal of Manuel Zelaya by the Supreme Court and the Armed forces due to his apparent attempt to amend the constitution to allow himself to run for a second term. But also due to the ongoing drug violence and corruption that is impacting the lives of every citizen of Honduras.

A political party had been formed by a very popular sportscaster, Salvador Nasralla, with anti-corruption as it's main theme. He had generated some real excitement when he entered politics, but his campaign seemed half-hearted and he did not live up to his electoral potential. He's also rumored to be gay and while this is quite possibly just a smear by his opponents, such things never help.
But the biggest threat was  Xiomara Castro, the wife of deposed president Zelaya, who was running as the head of a new left-wing party. She led the polls for much of the campaign (and in fact has declared victory, despite being several points behind in the results so far). The real trouble is that she was so obviously a stalking horse for Zelaya and while he has a sizable following, there's no question that more people in Honduras hate him than love him. Fair or not, he gets a large portion of the blame for Honduras' current economic woes. The outgoing president, Porforio Lobo had let Mr. Zelaya back in the country and he was allowed to re-enter politics but as a past president, he was banned from running for a second term. Clearly, enough people in Honduras didn't want to see him back in the halls of power, choosing instead to vote for a candidate who is widely considered to be something of a corrupt strong-man. It's quote a comeback for Mr. Hernandez as he was in 4th place in the polls not very long ago.
The congress is also up for election and here the position is more muddled. While Mr. Nasralla probably has not had much in the way of coattails for his party, there's no question that Ms. Castro has and the National Party will not have a majority of seats. At the very least, Mr. Hernandez will have to negotiate with the Liberal Party to get things past in the legislature.
Honduras has a lot of problems, but their biggest right now has to do with the large amount of cocaine that is transported through the country into the United States. I doubt Mr. Hernandez law and order tactics are going to make much of a dent - the amount of money involved is tremendous and it's just too easy to bribe people to look the other way. The only thing that would change the game is if the US ended it's ridiculous 'war on drugs' but that's not going to happen anytime soon. But all the same, I shudder to think of the chaos that would have resulted from a Castro/Zelaya victory. Had I been in Honduras, I would have voted for Nasralla, but between Castro and Hernandez, there's no question I would have wished for the later.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Pretendisent Hernandez succeeds Pretendisent Lobo (7+ / 0-)

    Honduran elections are a bad joke. The people in power are narcotraffickers, sweat shop barons, and other people who could give a d--n if the rest of Hondurans died. If you knew anything about Honduran elections, you'd know that the last time the Electoral Tribunal reported that a lot more people voted than they could find ballots for. It will be no surprise if they can't find the ballots that "elected" Hernandez.

    So, rah, rah. Another pretend leader for a pretend government of a pretend nation. But at least it isn't a leftist!

    •  Last Election (0+ / 0-)

      During the last election, the Liberal Party was in power. I think if they were to rig the election, it's more likely that they would have done so for themselves and not in favor of the opposition party.
      Nor do I see what makes Honduras a 'pretend nation'. I think that's fairly insulting, actually.

      Language professors HATE me!

      by Zornorph on Mon Nov 25, 2013 at 04:26:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I don't recall any complaints when Zelaya won. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Zornorph

      I agree that Honduran presidential elections are a bad joke, but that's because all of the candidates are mediocre at best, not because there's anything procedurally wrong with the elections.

      My comments are coming from a place of love.

      by Rich in PA on Mon Nov 25, 2013 at 04:42:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Two wrongs don't make a right (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corvo, SLKRR, quill

    I lived in Guatemala for over 10 years. Which makes me about as much of an expert on Honduran politics as the average DKos reader is on Canadian politics... not much. But I do know that "Zelaya was pushed out for apparently trying for a second term" is bullshit. Of course he'd have wanted to stay in power forever if he could; if that's reason for a coup, I literally don't know a government in the world that doesn't deserve one. But he simply could not have gotten away with that Chavez shit in Honduras, and he knew it. It wasn't going to happen, and it's no excuse.

    Zelaya sucked; fine; most politicians do. But telling that story, without any actual evidence of Zelaya ever trying to talk about term limits, is making excuses for the coup. It makes fascism that much easier to pull off the next time. In Honduras, in Guatemala, or somewhere in the USA.

    I'm usually a levelheaded guy. This comment, me taking this personally like this, this is not my normal style. I don't know how else to convey that I take this seriously.

    Senate rules which prevent any reform of the filibuster are unconstitutional. Therefore, we can rein in the filibuster tomorrow with 51 votes.

    by homunq on Mon Nov 25, 2013 at 05:01:27 AM PST

    •  Why Else? (0+ / 0-)

      Why else would they do it, then? He was only months away from the end of his term and even his own party and the supreme court turned on him. They could see the playbook he was working from (and it was hardly subtle) so what would be the motivation for upending things if a large percentage of the Honduran political establishment were not convinced that was what he was going for?

      Language professors HATE me!

      by Zornorph on Mon Nov 25, 2013 at 06:38:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Because the Honduran constitution sucks? (0+ / 0-)

        Of course it was a power-grab. That's what politicians do: try to find enough grievances to pin onto their banner so they can grab power. But as long as those grievances are legitimate, and as long as they can't actually subvert democracy in the process, that's how it's supposed to work.

        Was he angling to rewrite the rules to slightly a party he'd hope to remain a (if not the) big boss of? Doubtless. Could the rules have still ended up more democratic in the process? Easily. Was he going to end term limits? No way.

        And anyway, why do I care about that last question? Not because I care about term limits, but because ending term limits would have been a step towards ending contested elections altogether. Was he going to do that? Don't make me laugh; even Chavez didn't do that. (Castro did but for every Castro there's at least two Arbenzes and Allendes. That is, in practice, coups and coup apologists are a bigger danger to democracy than left-wing demagogues.)

        Senate rules which prevent any reform of the filibuster are unconstitutional. Therefore, we can rein in the filibuster tomorrow with 51 votes.

        by homunq on Mon Nov 25, 2013 at 07:34:29 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Elections over already? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CharlesII

    They were still counting votes last I heard.

    •  Aww, silly! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SLKRR, CharlesII, quill

      You don't actually have to count the votes.

      Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

      by corvo on Mon Nov 25, 2013 at 06:35:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  And there are serious irregularities (0+ / 0-)

      According to a website done by two country experts, Honduras Culture and Politics:

      Looking over those numbers, albeit preliminary, we are struck by the report for Cortés-- the Departamento in which is located San Pedro Sula, second-largest city and industrial capital of the country.

      These show Salvador Nasralla of the Partido Anti-Corrupción leading with 35.1% of the vote.
      ...
      That strikes us as very, very odd. There was at least one report from an electoral mesa yesterday that said LIBRE votes were being reported as PAC votes. But that would take a lot of votes to be shifted: PAC is said to have 122,362 votes to LIBRE's 81,796.

      If one assumes, hypothetically, that PAC got the percentage that it received nationally, those represent something on the order of 50,000 votes switched.  That would represent approximately half of the "lead" that Hernandez claims to have. And, accordingly, the only party recognizing Hernandez' "win" is his own.

      Honduras actually used to have genuine elections. But after a coup, there's no reason to trust the elections unless the people who did the coup are punished. In Honduras, they have all been promoted.

  •  Serious election fraud occurred (0+ / 0-)

    I just got a call from a friend who went down there as an election observer. He and the person he accompanied to the polls were also chased by an unmarked car with no license plates. Their taxi driver saved them

    Want to know what this is REALLY all about? Read THIS

    Helping a food pantry on the Cheyenne River Reservation,Okiciyap.

    by betson08 on Sat Nov 30, 2013 at 04:46:26 PM PST

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