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Honduras Politics

State and politics

GOVERNMENT

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.

Political System of Honduras

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.

Policy

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 influence.

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 and 2013.

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 parties.

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.

Judiciary

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.

Human Rights

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 opposition media.

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

Presidents

1839-40 Francisco Zelaya
1841-45 Francisco Ferrer
1845-47 Corondo Chávez
1847-52 Juan Lindo
1852-55 Trinidad Cabańas
1855-56 Francisco Aguilar
1856-62 Santos Guardiola
1862 Victoriano Castellanos
1862-63 José Montes
1863-72 José Medina
1872-74 Carlos Arias
1874-76 Pariano Leiva
1876-83 Marco Aurelio Soto
1883-91 Luis Bogrián
1891-93 Pariano Leiva
1893-94 Domingo Vásquez
1894-99 Policarpo Bonilla
1899-1903 Terencio Sierra
1903-07 Manuel Bonilla
1907-11 Miguel Dávila
1911-12 Francisco Bertrand
1912-13 Miguel Bonilla
1913-19 Francisco Bertrand
1919-24 Rafael López
1924 Fausto Dávila
1924-25 Vicente Tosta
1925-29 Miguel Paz
1929-33 Vicente Mejía
1933-48 Tiburcio Carías Andino
1949-54 Juan Gálvez
1954-55 Julio Lozano
1955-57 Roque Rodriguez/Hector Caraccioli
1957-63 Ramón Villeda Morales
1963-71 Oswaldo López
1971-72 Ramón Cruz
1972-75 Oswaldo López Arellano
1975-78 Juan Alberto Melgar Castro
1978-82 Policarpo Paz
1982-86 Roberto Suazo
1986-90 José Azcona
1990-94 Rafael Callejas
1994-98 Carlos Roberto Reina
1998-2002 Carlos Roberto Flores
2002-06 Ricardo Maduro Joest
2006-09 Manuel Zelaya
2009-10 Roberto Micheletti
2010-14 Porfirio Lobo Sosa
2014- Juan Orlando Hernandez
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