Panama President Ricardo Martinelli said his country “will recognize the winner” of the coming Honduran presidential election next November 29th. “We will recognize the election process and the winner”, said Martinelli in an interview with La Estrella from Panama City.
He also called on the Honduran people to act peacefully and “in harmony” and on the international community to recognize the election results.
“The best way out of the crisis is holding elections in peace and that they are recognized internationally” said Martinelli.
Panama’s position could be interpreted as contrary to that of OAS (Organization of American States), which is demanding the reinstatement of Zelaya. However the US State Department feels that “elections are the best way out for the crisis”, but in the meantime will continue to work for a unity government.
There are 4.5 million Hondurans registered to vote at the end of the month. Five candidates from five political parties are disputing the presidential office. Other posts include three vice-presidents, 128 members of Congress, 20 members for the Central American Congress and 298 mayors plus the local councillors.
General Romeo Vazquez, head of the Joint Chief of Staff and the same man who flew Zelaya to Costa Rica has said the Honduran Armed Forces are prepared to ensure that the election process !is completed safely and with all the democratic guarantees”.
Meantime in Tegucigalpa Ramon Velazquez deputy head of the one-chamber congress said that the Honduran legislative will continue with the process to reinstate or not, ousted President Manuel Zelaya, even when the former leader announced he was stepping down from that option.
“We’re forced to continue”, said Velazquez, “because Congress has the commitment to support what was agreed in the October 30th statement (to end the political crisis) and furthermore it has a formal request to decide on the issue”.
“Institutions must continue in line with decisions and leave no details unattended”, said Velazquez who belongs to the Christina Democrats.
Zelaya over the weekend announced in a letter addressed to US President Obama that he will “not accept any agreement” for his reinstatement to office from where he was ousted by the military at gun point last June 28th, and when Congress named as caretaker Roberto Micheletti.
“As of now, whatever the case I do not accept any agreement to return to the presidency” because it would mean acknowledging the “coup d’etat” said Zelaya in the letter to Obama.
Representatives from Zelaya and Micheletti at the end of October reached an agreement to solve the crisis, which among other points established that Congress should decide on the reinstatement of Zelaya but mentioned on calendar.
Congress is waiting for opinions from the Supreme Court and other offices (Attorney General, Prosecution, Human Rights) to debate the Zelaya case, who nevertheless last November 7 said the agreement had fallen and refused to form part of a national unity and reconciliation government until he was officially reinstated.
Velázquez said Zelaya comments have shown certain “inconsistencies” but since it’s a written document “we will have to accept the fact he’s resigning” on his reinstatement.
Velazquez revealed that it was Zelaya himself who asked for Congress to decide on his return since on June 28th, a congressional decision named a caretaker successor.
The Honduran Congress deputy leader also pointed out that if Zelaya desists from his reinstatement, “there’s no reason for his followers to continue promoting a boycott to the November 29th presidential election”.
Zelaya in the letter to Obama argues that the elections are illegitimate since they will be taking place without him in office and under the rule of a de facto government headed by Micheletti.