Controversy arises in board election in Honduran Congress

TEGUCIGALPA (AP) — The National Congress of Honduras chose a provisional board of directors on Friday at the start of sessions of the new deputies elected in the November 28 elections, which led to a bitter controversy and was criticized by the elected president Xiomara Castro considering that she breaches a pact with the ally that helped her win the presidency.

The presidency of the board was awarded to deputy Jorge Cálix, who will be accompanied by Yahvé Sabillón as vice president and Beatriz Valle as secretary. The three, however, challenged the decisions that had been made within the Libertad y Refundación (Libre) party, which supported another candidate to lead the Legislative. It is the party that led the leftist Castro to win the presidency.

The elected president formed an alliance with the candidate of the Salvador Party of Honduras (PSH), Salvador Nasralla, with whom she signed an agreement that established that if they won the elections, she would grant the presidency of Congress to a member of her party.

Nasralla appointed Luis Redondo as a candidate for the presidency of Congress, but 20 deputies from Libre did not support that candidacy and nominated Cálix, for which they sought the support of other groups. Libre won 50 of the 128 seats disputed in the last elections.

The position of the 20 dissident deputies was described by Castro as an act of treason, considering that they should follow the pact agreed with Nasralla and thus achieve unity within Libre and reach consensus with the other parties to receive support.

At the beginning of the session, chaired by the current Minister of the Interior, Héctor Leonel Ayala, related to the National Party, in power. Ayala gave the floor to Valle, who nominated Cálix, after which they went up to the podium to be sworn in despite the fact that the motion had not been put to a vote.

This infuriated the other 30 deputies from Libre who supported Redondo and who also got on the podium and kicked out the provisional board of directors that was sworn in at that time.

Minutes later, the president-elect posted on her social networks: “The betrayal was consummated.”

On the outskirts of the National Congress, Libre supporters also staged a protest and entered the chamber, placing chains on the gates to prevent anyone from leaving the Legislative.

The Riot Police arrived at the Congress headquarters to calm the demonstrators and in the end the situation was brought under control.

On Sunday, the deputies will meet again to form the board of directors in property, which is supposed to be the same one that was provisionally.

Political analyst and former presidential candidate Olban Valladares told The Associated Press that what happened on Friday in the National Congress “is a serious event.”

“It is a violation of parliamentary procedures, it is a demonstration and, I dare say, an interference by the National Party (government party of outgoing President Juan Orlando Hernández) in the affairs of the State at this time,” he declared.

“The Minister of the Interior, who already knows which party he belongs to, violated parliamentary procedures, prevented the exercise of democracy and the right of deputies to propose, discuss and approve provisions within Congress,” he added.

Given this scenario, the analyst considers that Castro, who will assume the Presidency on January 27, will not have a party that supports her to solve the country’s problems.

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