Former Honduran President Rafael Leonardo Callejas (1990-1994) and a group of congressmen submitted petitions to the Supreme Court which would declare Article 239 and 240 — in force since 1982 barring Presidents to seek reelection unconstitutional. After a prolonged session on Thursday April 23rd 2015, the Justices of the Supreme Court of Honduras revoked the two key articles of the Constitution — effectively legalizing presidential reelection in the country of Honduras.
The text reads: “Any citizen who has served as the head of the executive power cannot be president or presidential candidate. He who breaks this disposition or proposes its reform, as well as those who support him directly or indirectly, will cease the function of their respective roles immediately and will remain disqualified for 10 years from the exercise of public office.”
Objections have been quick to materialize, the strongest from former President Manuel Zelaya, who was removed from his post in 2009 after the opposition claimed he was seeking to violate the same article to remain in office.
What the Supreme Court has effectively done in Honduras is exactly the same as what happened in Nicaragua, where the Supreme Court of Justice arrogated constituent powers to itself and annulled constitutional articles which prohibited presidential reelection, bypassing fundamental principles of the constitutional order and the rule of law.
Those opposed to the ruling have efeectivel pointed out that “It’s not for the Supreme Court to issue a sentence, because the only way of reforming Article 239 of the Constitution is through a referendum called by the majority decision of the Honduran National Congress.
The ruling is not set in stone, however. “Juridically speaking, the National Congress could open a political judgement against the justices of the Constitutional Chamber and remove them for violating the Constitution, thereby leaving the ruling without effect.
Supreme Court Justice José Elmer Lizardo meanwhile presented a note to the secretariat of the Constitutional Court in which he withdrew his support from the ruling, citing various technical objections.
The document delivered by Lizardo signals that he withdraws his signature “for not agreeing with the content of the same … therefore I will issue a dissenting vote, so according to Article 316 of the Constitution of the Republic, there is not unanimity in the Chamber’s decision.
The Supreme Court is yet to issue a statement responding to Lizardo’s petition.
To our Honduras.com audience, we thought it may be “interesting” for you to read “our analysis of Presidential Reelection” written back in 1998.