Four of the six candidates for Honduras presidential election next November 29th signed Tuesday the social pact to strengthen democracy, peace and freedom, one of several steps agreed last week to end the four months institutional crisis of the Central American country, according to political sources.
The signing ceremony took place in a local television station and involved Porfirio Lobo from the conservative National Party, Elvin Santos from right wing Liberal Party, Felicito Avila from the Christian Democrats and Bernard Martinez from Innovation (social democrats).
Cesar Ham from Democratic Unification (left wing) and Carlos H. Reyes (left independent) abstained from signing the document since their participation in the coming presidential election is conditioned to the reinstatement of ousted President Manuel Zelaya.
Mr. Zelaya and de facto government head Roberto Micheletti (supported by the military) are at the heart of the institutional dispute that has virtually paralyzed Latinamerica’s second poorest country behind Haiti.
The document underlines that the main objective is “to strengthen and to guarantee our democratic institutions with absolute respect for electoral results” and future governance.
Candidates are also committed to making effective “the electoral ethic pact subscribed in early October with the National Anti Corruption Council” which basically demands full transparency of all government decisions and actions from whoever wins at the end of the month.
The document also includes a clause stating the purpose of “strengthening participative democracy through a process of social cohesion as a clear response to inequalities, marginalization and lack of opportunities for vast segments of (Honduran) society”.
The candidates also promised to de-centralize education, health services and social security as well as reinforcing incentives for small and medium enterprises to help create jobs.
“There can be no peace without social justice”, said candidate Avila while Lobo underlined that “it is responsibility of all of us” to improve the living conditions of the 7.5 million Hondurans.
According to the latest public opinion polls Lobo has a comfortable lead over the other candidates in his bid for the presidency.
Meanwhile the Honduran congressional standing committee sent to the Supreme Court for consultation the terms of the agreement reached last week between delegates from Mr. Zelaya and Mr. Micheletti and sponsored by the OAS and the US State Department. The agreement was praised and celebrated by the international community.
According to the political agreement, Congress has to vote the reinstatement of Mr. Zelaya but since most members are on electoral campaign it was decided to send the document to the Supreme Court that also played a role in the ousting of Zelaya in June.
The Supreme Court opinion does not condition the congressional vote.
However the agreement also contemplates naming a “unity and reconciliation” government with members from both sides that were part of the negotiations no later than next Thursday.
They will have the responsibility of overseeing the presidential election at the end of the month together with a committee of personalities that includes OAS Secretary General and former Chilean president Ricardo Lagos and US Labour Secretary Hilda Solis who are scheduled to arrive in Tegucigalpa this week.