Ricardo Alvarez, the Mayor of Tegucigalpa with presidential aspirations, and Miguel Pastor, current head of SOPTRAVI, have formed a caucus of 25 Congress persons from the National party, splitting with Juan Orlando Hernandez, and promising a legislative agenda of their own. Three of the four fired Ministers have pledged to join the group as well (Oscar Alvarez, Armando Caledonio, and Nasry Asfura).
This split has the effect of denying the National Party a straight line ability to pass legislation without consultation. While still large, with 46 members, the National Party caucus loyal to Juan Orlando Hernandez no longer forms a majority.
Congressman Antonio Rivera Callejas, a member of the newly formed caucus, loudly denies that it has anything to do with presidential politics.
According to Callejas it has everything to do with the lack of support given to the Ministers who Lobo Sosa recently fired. "They were the people who were lending credibility to the Lobo Sosa government," Callejas told El Heraldo.
On the other hand, La Tribuna reported that Callejas completely undercut his denial when he told them
"This is the beginning of a legislative alliance between the Congress people supporting Ricardo Alvarez and Miguel Pastor, and for now it is only for legislative affairs, but I hope that later on it will become an electoral alliance."Mario Barahona, another member of the caucus, said
"Miguel Pastor and Ricardo Alvarez are a guarantee of triumph and we understand this..."
Barahona went on to explain that it was, in fact, an alliance of those who support the political aspirations of Miguel Pastor and Ricardo Alvarez and to complain of being marginalized and mistreated by Juan Orlando Hernandez.
Juan Orlando Hernandez thought the cause was presidential politics:
"I'm very sorry that we haven't finished even the second year of governing and we are already in this debate, but such are politics,"
he said, when consulted about the split. Celine Discua, head of the National Party caucus in Congress said that this was "treason, and in the past, we've seen what happens to traitors."
This is a break. We would argue that their words are confirmation that Presidential politics was indeed the cause, more than two years before the election. What it will mean legislatively remains an open question.