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Monday, July 27, 2009

I love to see countries follow through with their constitution (unlike in the United States and Ukraine). However, while abusing the constitution goes largely unnoticed in many countries, the international community has jumped on the constitutionally-sound removal of the former Honduran president Manuel Zelaya, mislabeling it a "coup."

The decision to remove the president came not from the military but rather from the Supreme Court, which was granted the power through a 2003 amendment. Additionally, after the removal, the military never seized leadership control. The country followed the process outlined in the constitution, swearing in the speaker of Congress as president.

Honduras's constitution clearly dictates presidential limitations and the punishments for attempting to return the country to its authoritarian past.

Article 4 states that attempts to violate the alternation in the office of the presidency constitute "treason." Article 42.5 even says that any person who incites, promotes or supports presidential re-election will lose his or her citizenship.
Zelaya was notified and warned repeatedly by the Supreme Court, Congress, and the attorney general for attempting to change the presidential term limits statute. The military was charged with arresting Zelaya but chose to expel him from the country to avoid a violent confrontation with his supporters.

Would the situation be better or worse with Zelaya in a Honduran prison? The military broke with constitutional procedures in their actions. Only time will tell if they chose wisely. In the mean time, the international community should cease their condescending rhetoric toward the Honduran government. Honduras should be cited as an example of political freedom, not criticized for following their constitution.

Posted by Eleutherian

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