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Friday, October 30, 2009
By Steven L. Taylor

The BBC reports:  Honduras rivals resolve deadlock:

The interim leader of Honduras says he is ready to sign a pact to end its crisis which could include the return of ousted President Manuel Zelaya.

Roberto Micheletti said the agreement would create a power-sharing government and require both sides to recognise the result of November’s presidential poll.

Mr Zelaya said the deal, which requires the approval of the Supreme Court and Congress, would be signed on Friday.

This is a truly historic event in the annals of Latin American coups in terms of an ousted leader being returned to power via negotiation.  Indeed, in terms of being returned to power at all the only other example that I can think of (and not just me, it would seem) is when Hugo Chávez was returned to power in 2002 after a very brief ouster.  And one could argue that in that case that coup was never consolidated.  In the Honduran case we will have seen over 100 days of an interim government as the result of a coup give way to a return to power.  At a minimum this is all quite interesting.

Beyond that, it strikes me as good for Honduras’ democratic health for the matter to have been resolved in this way.  There will, however, be longer terms affects one would suspect.   For example, the entire affair may hasten a movement towards constitutional reform, as there is little doubt that whatever one wants to say about the last several months, it is quite clear that those events revealed a number of difficulties with constitutional procedures in Honduras.  At a minimum, some sort of formalized process for leveling charges against a sitting president might be useful, not to mention some clarification of the roles of the various branches in these types of intragovernmental conflicts.

Clarification of whether having naughty thoughts about maybe, perhaps wanting presidential re-election violates the constitution would also likely be helpful.  Put in less colorful terms:   clarifying if wanting constitutional reform of any kind equals violating the no re-election clauses of the current constitution.  No small matter, that.  A look at decree powers wouldn’t hurt, as there appears to be some serious ambiguity there as well that helped start this whole problem in the first place.

Of course, until the deal is actually signed and goes into effect, all the above may yet be rendered moot.

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