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Primary elections in Honduras, a “failed rehearsal of democracy”

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The primary elections in Honduras, with a view to the general elections in November, became “a failed rehearsal of democracy” in which, with the accusations of fraud, it was once again evidenced that the political class does not play fair to a people who finance the electoral processes with their taxes.

The primary or internal elections of the National party, in power; Libertad y Refundación (Libre), first opposition force, and Liberal, second, held last March 14, cost some 1,100 million lempiras (some 45.8 million dollars), which represent a high value for an impoverished country like Honduras.

Primary elections in Honduras, a "failed rehearsal of democracy"
Primary elections in Honduras, a “failed rehearsal of democracy”. (Photo internet reproduction)

Analyst Manuel Torres said that the primary elections turned out to be a failed rehearsal of democracy, for the general elections next November”, in which the new president of the country, 298 municipal mayors, 128 deputies for the local Parliament and 20 for the Central American Parliament will be chosen.

Even two weeks after the elections, the National Electoral Council (CNE) does not have a complete report. There are accusations of fraud in the three electoral levels in the three parties participating in the contest.


Fraud, inconsistencies, alteration of electoral records, in many cases with more voters than those who went to the ballot box, and other dirty practices are not new in Honduras. However, for many years, the opposition has attributed the frauds to the National Party, which has alternated power with the Liberal Party for a century.

Precisely because of the elections, which allegations of fraud have marred, the term “cachurecada” was coined, associated with the fact that National Party militants are also known as “cachurecos”.

But the “cachurecadas”, at least in the primaries, have also been put into practice in the Libre and Liberal parties.

Libre party militants have repudiated the fraud that some pre-candidates to popular election positions denounced, besides emphasizing that these are only a few cases and not a generalized practice of the first opposition force.

The same has happened in the Liberal Party. The presidential pre-candidate Luis Zelaya accuses of fraud his contender Yani Rosenthal, who in August 2020 returned to the country after serving a three-year prison sentence in the U.S. for money laundering linked to drug trafficking.

Allegations of fraud in the primaries have been lower in the National Party, which competed with two presidential pre-candidates. According to preliminary reports, the winner is Nasry Asfura, mayor of Tegucigalpa, against Mauricio Oliva, head of Parliament.

Libre participated with four pre-candidates, and the virtual winner is Xiomara Castro, wife of former President Manuel Zelaya, who was ousted on June 28, 2009, when he promoted reforms which the law prevented him from doing, in a country which has not been able to consolidate its democracy, to which it returned after almost 20 years of military regimes.

Manuel Torres considers that the primary elections have been “a failed rehearsal for several reasons”. He says that “one of the failures is the failure of the electoral institutional bodies to manage the process”.

“It is a process in which the main failure of origin, in my opinion, lies in the fact that it is financed by the Honduran people, with more than 1,000 million lempiras, which could have been invested in buying the vaccines that reactivate society -because of the covid-19 pandemic- and the economy”, stressed the analyst.

Furthermore, according to Torres, the National Electoral Council handed over its control to the political parties without any guarantee that they could respect the law, as it is established.

“That gives rise to a second element that allows qualifying this process as a failure, the multiple pieces of evidence of fraud that occurred within the parties themselves. It is a kind of electoral anthropophagy because the parties tried fraud among their own supporters, among their own internal currents”, he added.

Other analysts also consider that if the November elections are reached with the same irregularities of the primaries, what is presaged is a fraudulent process in a country that has not overcome the crisis caused by the coup to Manuel Zelaya in 2009, which was exacerbated by the “fraud” that, according to the opposition, there was in those of 2017.

That year, the Honduran president, Juan Orlando Hernández, was re-elected for a second term, even though the Constitution does not allow it under any modality. Still, he sought it after, in May 2015, an interpretation of the Judiciary gave him the green light.


Torres indicates that “what is seen in perspective is that the November elections will start without real guarantees that they can be effectively democratic and allow finding in that process a solution to the serious institutional crisis and governmental inefficiency that the country is experiencing”.

He also pointed out that the return to the transition to democracy, which began in 1980, when a National Constituent Assembly was installed and called for general elections in November 1981, “is a process that is already in its twilight for the initial transition in 1982”, when Roberto Suazo Córdova, of the Liberal Party, assumed power.

Part of that “twilight” that marked the Honduran democratic process was the coup d’état of 2009, to which has been added “a decade of absolute reign of illegality and unconstitutionality in the country, whose most notorious example was the forced reelection of President Hernández in 2017,” Torres said.

The National and Liberal parties have alternated the last 40 years of democratic life power, winning five elections each, the last three consecutive by the “cachurecos”, but that has not represented welfare for a country of 9.5 million inhabitants of which more than 60 percent are poor.

What Honduras has had in 40 years of elections are politicians who seem to do their best to solve the country’s problems and create crises that they do not solve but rather aggravate them, as has happened since 2009.

“Instead of advancing democratically, the elections are going backward, which ultimately means that Honduras has lost the course of its transition to democracy, and there is no prospect of resuming it despite the urgency of finding solutions to the country’s crisis,” Torres stressed.

Source: EFE

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