HONDURAS
Officially: República de Honduras.
Seat of government: Tegucigalpa.
Status: Questionably democratic.
Structure: The president is elected directly by plurality. The legislature (Congreso Nacional) is elected in the departamentos by party-list proportional representation.
Head of government: Juan Orlando Hernández Alvarado, PN, president (since 2014).
Congressional parties: Partido Nacional; Libertad y Refundación (Libre); Partido Liberal; Partido Anticorrupción; Partido Innovación y Unidad; Partido Unificación Democrática; Partido Demócrata-Cristiano.
Assessment: Long essentially a two-party system, with the PL and PN dominating. Suffering from high rates of violence, both criminal and political. In 2009, elected president Manuel Zelaya Rosales of the PL was removed from office; he had intended to hold a referendum to change the constitution to allow himself a second term (article 374 of the constitution forbids such a change; article 239 disqualifies anyone from office who advocates such a change). When Congress and the Supreme Court declared this unconstitutional and other officials impounded the ballots, he led supporters to seize the ballots and stage the referendum anyway. He ordered the army to assist, fired the army chief for refusing, and refused to reinstate the army chief at the direction of the Supreme Court, which then ordered the army to remove him. The interim president, Roberto Micheletti, was the speaker of Congress and another member of the PL. A 2009 election to replace him was won by Porfirio (Pepe) Lobo Sasa, who lost to Zelaya in the previous election; at the same time, the PN won a majority in Congress. In a 2013 election, the PN won the presidency and a plurality in Congress, but a new party, Libre, formed in response to the removal of Zelaya, finished second in both, with Zelaya’s wife Xiomara Castro standing for president. In 2017, it was the PN and Hernández who argued that presidential reelection had been legalized by the Supreme Court. Hernández ran for reelection and, after a dubious count, was named the winner narrowly over Salvador Nasralla, standing for Libre and PInU.
FH: 3-3, partly free (democratic). Econ: 6.18 (74), flawed democracy.
Updated: 2017 December 22.
 

O.T. FORD