State and politics
The Honduran Constitution of 1982 states that the
President has the executive power. The president is elected
in direct elections for a four-year term and can be
re-elected since 2016.
The National Assembly (Asamblea Nacional) has the
legislative power, and its 128 members are elected by
universal suffrage. The voting age is 18, and voting is
formally mandatory, but voter turnout is usually around 60
percent. President since 2014 is Juan Orlando Hernández.
Honduras stood as a model when the derogatory term banana
republic was coined at the beginning of the 20th century.
See ABBREVIATIONFINDER for how HN can stand for Honduras. The concept meant a country ruled by a small elite,
political approval in the judiciary, widespread corruption
and a total dependence on individual export products. The
American banana companies United Fruit Co. and Standard
Fruit Co. had a decisive political influence.
For much of the 20th century, politics was dominated by
Partido Liberal (PL) and Partido Nacional (PN), but all
proposals had to be approved by the military. The army also
sometimes abolished formal democracy and ruled the country
directly in the 1960s and 1970s. During the 1980s, a process
of democratization began, and during President Carlos
Roberto Reinas's (1926–2003) time in power (1994-98),
reforms were implemented that limited the military's
Party politics Honduras has later been dominated by the
two traditional parties Partido Liberal de Honduras
(PLH) and Partido Nacional de Honduras (PNH). PLH
is considered more liberal and PNH more conservative, but
the ideological differences are small. On the left are the
parties Libertad y Refundación (Libre) and
Partido de Innovación y Unidad (PINU) while Partido
Anti Corrupción (PAC) is counted as a middle party. PNH
has become the largest party in the last two elections, 2009
However, the army still has great power and played a
crucial role in the coup d'etat that ousted President Manuel
Zelaya in 2009. Zelaya, who represented PLH, won the
election in 2005 but was overthrown in June 2009 by order of
the country's highest court, after he tried to conduct a
referendum. about a constitutional change that would, among
other things, enable him to be re-elected. Instead, Congress
appointed President Roberto Micheletti as President. In
November 2009, Porfirio "Pepe" Lobo Sosa (PNH) won in a
contentious election, where neither Zelaya nor Micheletti
were allowed to stand.
The 2013 presidential election was won by Juan Orlando
Hernández of the National Party. Libre became the second
largest party in the parliamentary elections that year and
two other new parties, the Anti-Corruption Party (PAC) and
the Social Democratic Pinu, also entered the parliament.
The 2016 constitution, which set aside the previous ban
on re-election, Juan Orlando Hernández could stand again in
the presidential election in 2017. His main challenger
Salvador Nasralla (born in 1953) came from the
anti-corruption party PAC and led an alliance of several
The election was initially bordered by suspicions of
irregularities. The electoral authority canceled the voting
count when the first forecast showed a tight lead for
Salvador Nasralla. Only four days after the election, the
Election Authority declared that Juan Orlando Hernández had
won with just over 43 percent of the vote against Salvador
Nasralla's 41.4 percent.
Large demonstrations erupted in several cities. In
clashes between police and protesters, at least ten people
were killed, with the government introducing emergency
permits. Nasralla and the opposition alliance he represented
demanded that the election be annulled because of cheating,
which did not win. Juan Orlando Hernández thus makes his
second term as president.
See also History.
The legal order in Honduras is mainly codified according
to the continental European (first and foremost French)
pattern. The judicial organization consists, in principle,
of small-scale courts (with peace judges), the General Court
of Appeal, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. The
most important codifications are the Civil Code, the
Commercial Code, the Family Act, the Criminal Code, the
Civil Procedure Act and the Criminal Procedure Act. The
death penalty was abolished in 1956; the last execution took
place in 1940.
Since the democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya
was overthrown in a military coup in 2009 (see History),
violence in Honduras has escalated. In the early 2000s, the
poor country designated by the UN as one of the world's most
violent countries showed statistics of 65 homicides per
100,000 residents in 2014.
According to Human Rights Watch, violence and abuse of
human rights defenders, prosecutors and farmers are common
and perpetrators are rarely brought to justice. Police and
government teams have increased police brutality, corruption
and impunity after the coup.
In connection with the military coup in 2009, the interim
government canceled, among other things, freedom of the
press and freedom of assembly and the military occupied
No other country has as high a level of murder of
journalists per inhabitant as Honduras. The period 2009-12
was estimated upwards of 30 journalists have been murdered.
The widespread impunity means that many journalists fear for
their lives and their vulnerability in the country has led
to a marked self-censorship. In Reporters Without Borders
Press Freedom Index for 2015, Honduras was ranked 132 out of
180 countries surveyed, which is a significant deterioration
compared to the beginning of the 2000s.
Women's situation is difficult. They are both socially
and economically discriminated against. In 2012, 520 women
were murdered and only a fraction of the perpetrators were
convicted of the crimes. The Catholic Church has a very
strong position and plays a crucial role in issues of
women's rights. Abortion is prohibited as long as the
mother's life is not in danger and a significant proportion
of maternal deaths stem from illegal abortions.
The children's situation in Honduras is difficult. They
are subjected to child labor, violence and human trafficking
for sexual exploitation. Child abuse is rarely investigated.
According to a study conducted by the Prosecutor's Special
Root for Children, 50 percent of pregnancies are among the
minor results of rape (2012). In rural areas, children from
five years of age often work on sugar and coffee
plantations, even though children are not allowed to work
until the age of 14. The criminal age is 12 years.
Attacks against gay, bisexual and transgender people are
a serious problem. According to Human Rights Watch, it is
particularly worrying that abuse has taken place from the
police, where impunity is also the norm. Between 2008 and
2012, more than 70 LGBTQ people were murdered.
The indigenous population, which corresponds to about 8
percent of the country's population, is subject to frequent
forced relocations as a result of investments in tourism and
expansion of the mining and power plant industry.
Heads of State
||Marco Aurelio Soto
||Tiburcio Carías Andino
||Roque Rodriguez/Hector Caraccioli
||Ramón Villeda Morales
||Oswaldo López Arellano
||Juan Alberto Melgar Castro
||Carlos Roberto Reina
||Carlos Roberto Flores
||Ricardo Maduro Joest
||Porfirio Lobo Sosa
||Juan Orlando Hernandez