Honduras Campaign for elections officially to start this week!
General elections in Honduras will take place on Sunday the 24th of November this year. The Honduran Constitution, which dates back to 1982, states that elections are to be held every four years on the last Sunday of November. These elections are not only for the presidency of Honduras, municipal authorities and members on the National Congress are also elected. In total, 298 majors, 156 congressmen (half of them assume the post as proprietors and the other half are elected to replace a congressman should he not be available to act as such. According to the Electoral Law in Honduras campaigning for the elections is to take place only 3 months prior to the elections, and there is to be an electoral silence (translate to no campaign ads) three days prior to the elections.
This means that starting this Saturday, August 24, the campaigning officially starts. So if you live in Honduras, it will be good bye to peace and quiet for three months!
These elections, as we have stated before, will be different to all previous ones because of two reasons, first, there are a total of 9 political parties legally recognized by the National Electoral Authority, second, because the process promises to transcend the regular bipartisan elections between the National and Liberal parties in Honduras.
In addition, there is a strong rejection to the regular politicians in Honduras, they have been in power for many years, and yet the state of Honduras has not been able to establish a strong base for development and improvement in the quality of life of Hondurans.
Following is a list of the eight presidential candidates that are legally registered to participate in the elections, with a brief outlook of who they are and what their chances of being elected are. Remember, campaigning has not officially begun until Saturday, August 24, 2013; so things can change in the upcoming three months!
National Party. Juan Orlando Hernandez
Hernandez has had a privileged political position during the last four years. He was elected to congress as a representative for the department of Lempira, and successfully led a campaign to become president of Congress. As such, he has been the second most powerful man in the country, at times the most powerful, and has the machinery of the current government behind him. He participated in primary elections within his party to gain his nomination as presidential candidate, and officially won it, however there are many, many members of his party that believe that he committed fraud and was not the real winner. In general, Honduran citizens distrust him, and he seems to be lagging in the polls. He has unofficially been campaigning for the last 6 months, despite the fact that the law limits campaigns to the three months prior to the elections.
Liberal Party. Mauricio Villeda Bermudez
Villeda has not been an active politician, in fact that is one of the things he uses to promote himself, the fact that he has not been part of the governmental establishment. Villeda is the son of Ramon Villeda Morales, a very popular president that was overthrown by a coup a few months before the end of his government back in the early 1960s. Villeda is a successful lawyer, and is generally seen as the most honest of all candidates, however he has not shown much leadership within the recent political crisis during the current government, and many question his ties with some of the more conservative players in his party. Recent polls show him as the one candidate that has been gaining more sympathy in the recent months; however he still seems to be somewhere between third and fourth in voting intentions.
Partido Libertad y Refundación Libre. Xiomara Castro de Zelaya
Castro happens to be the wife of ex president Zelaya, ousted four years ago for trying to rewrite the constitution and grant himself permission for re-election. Under the political agreements reached as an effort to solve the crisis, Zelaya was authorized to come back to the country, was issued an amnesty and allowed to participate in politics again. He can not run for the presidency, so he has his wife doing it for him. He is doing so promoting a leftist system and has all of his old cronies, who are filmed on tape as they take money out of the Central Bank in Honduras in supermarket carts on his ticket! Because of his leftist, populist propaganda, she has a fairly descent following, and according to recent polls, Mrs. Castro would win the elections if they were held today. I must state that she is only a couple of points ahead of the candidate just behind her, so nothing is written in stone! Libre is one of the new parties that is participating in the elections for the first time.
Partido Anticorrupcion (PAC) Salvador Nasralla
Brand new party, and best of all there is one big rule to be a part of it, you must not have been a politician. The consensus is all politicians are crooks, and we are tired of them, lets get a group of honest citizens to turn this country around, eliminate corruption and lawlessness… Nasralla is a TV sports commentator, and also has a Sunday Morning entertainment program on national TV. In fact, his program has the highest rating nationwide! Everyone in the country knows him, and he is not afraid to say what he thinks. This of course gets him into trouble regularly. In the end, I think he is the highest threat to the traditional political parties, there are many, many young people who are willing to give him a chance. His big drawback is that people do not really know who his team is going to be, if asked in the streets, the people know about him and his party, but not about the local candidates for major or congressmen, so if he wins the presidency, he will probably have a very weak support from Congress. Then again, the campaign does not start until next Saturday the 24th of August, so there is time to change that!
Alianza Patriotica. Romeo Vazquez Velazquez
This is another new party, with strong support from the military and exmilitary officials in the country. General Vazquez was who executed the arrest warrant on Zelaya in June 2009, and is a hero to many and a traitor to just as many! The biggest thing he has going is the fact that he is very well prepared in a topic that is of top importance to all Hondurans; security. He seems to have the support of somewhere around 5% of the population at this time, and with the campaign just getting started; it could be a good base to develop more support and rally to the top!
Unificacion Democratica and FAPER. Andres Pavon
Two parties that lean very hard to the left. UD is an old party, approved in 1990, but for FAPER, these will be the first elections. They have agreed on one candidate for the presidency; however they are presenting separate candidates for Congress and the Municipalities. UD has managed to be the third force in Congress in the past with 4 or 5 congressmen; however they are poised to loose this position in the upcoming elections. They will be competing with Libre for the support for the left, and my guess is that Libre will be getting most of that support, so expect that FAPER will probably disappear as a political party and the UD will lose some ground.
PINU Jorge Agular
Jorge Aguilar is a young engineer that has been the president of the Pinu during the past 8 years. The Pinu was tempted to make a political alliance with the Liberal Party for the presidential elections. They should have, because I do not see the party as having much of a chance to get votes. This party is probably on the verge of disappearing due to lack of support from the people of Honduras.
Democracia Cristiana de Honduras. Orle Solis
Mr. Solis is currently a congressman for his party, representing his department of Olancho, where he was born. Solis is a lawyer and has been a member of congress representing the Christian Democratic Party of Honduras since 2002. This party has not had much success in presidential elections in the past, and the outlook does not look any better for them this time around with new players in the field. The party will struggle to gain electoral posts and subsist another 4 years.
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