Wednesday, May 18

Honduras sinks into political crisis, under the watchful eye of Washington

Two days before the swearing in of President-elect Xiomara Castro, Honduras sank further into the political crisis on Tuesday with the installation of two concurrent assemblies.

The crisis erupted on Friday when a group of around 20 dissident deputies from Ms. Castro’s Free Party refused to elect Luis Redondo as Speaker of Parliament, of the Savior of Honduras party (PSH), whose contribution was decisive at the time of the presidential election.

The dissidents gave their votes to Jorge Calix of the Free Party, who was elected to the presidency with the support of right-wing opposition MPs, leading to boxing scenes in the House.

On Sunday, in two parallel sessions each claiming to be legitimate, the two rival factions of parliamentarians confirmed to the presidency of Parliament, who Jorge Calix, who Luis Redondo, each exchanging accusations of treason and proclaiming their loyalty to the president-elect.

However, Ms. Castro’s party expelled dissenting members, including Mr. Calix, who had won the support of 79 of the 128 incumbent members.

On Tuesday, each of the two “presidents” of Parliament installed two concurrent assemblies.

Mr. Redondo, with the support of the President-elect, set up his assembly at Parliament’s headquarters in Tegucigalpa, in the presence of an escort of Armed Forces cadets, who signal their rallying to Ms. Castro and the Speaker of Parliament recognized by Tegucigalpa. she.

Mr. Calix, for his part, held a virtual session of his Parliament, which includes around twenty dissidents from the Free Party, as well as the majority of deputies from the right-wing opposition of the National Party and the Liberal Party.

Xiomara Castro, the first woman elected president in the history of Honduras, is to be sworn in before the speaker of parliament on Thursday at a ceremony scheduled at the national stadium in Tegucigalpa.

US Vice President Kamala Harris is expected at the nomination.

“We appeal to politicians to remain calm, engage in dialogue, do not resort to violence and refrain from provocative speeches,” the spokesman for the US State Department said in Washington on Monday. Ned Price.

Mr. Calix also called for dialogue. “If necessary, let’s vote again. I will submit myself when you want to the vote of the deputies (…) if that is what is necessary to do to restore peace”, he affirmed Monday in a recorded statement.

– “Constructive dialogue” –

The idea of ​​electing a president of the Parliament gathering a consensus, and who would be neither Mr. Calix, nor Mr. Redondo, has been put forward, and the United States could play a decisive role in finding a way out of the crisis.

“Someone from the American Embassy has contacted me and we are going to talk to them,” Mr. Redondo said at a press conference on Monday.

According to unconfirmed press reports, the US Embassy also approached Mr. Calix.

According to declarations to the press of the dissident deputy Yahvé Sabillon, representatives of MM. Calix and Redondo met Monday evening to try to reach an agreement.

“The United States is probably meeting with the two factions to propose a solution that could lead to the recognition of (Luis) Redondo or to seek a third option,” sociologist Pablo told AFP on Monday evening. Carias.

Meanwhile, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres “calls for a constructive and peaceful dialogue to resolve disputes within the framework of the constitutional process” in Honduras, UN spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said on Tuesday.

Xiomara Castro won the presidential election thanks to her alliance with the PSH, to which she pledged to appoint its leader, Salvador Nasralla, vice-president. The presidency of Parliament was also to go to a deputy of the PSH, under the terms of this agreement.

The president-elect accuses the dissidents of having allied themselves with the National Party of outgoing president Juan Orlando Hernández to prevent it from carrying out its program to fight against corruption and drug trafficking which has infiltrated state structures.

The outgoing president has been implicated by American prosecutors for his links with drug traffickers. He denies these accusations.

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