Manuel Zelaya Rosales submitted 80,000 signatures from Honduran citizens supporting the founding of this political party. Earlier this week, the Tribunal Supremo Electoral (TSE) verified 63,000 of these signatures. This puts the party far over the required number of signatures to establish a new party (42,920, according to the announcement by the TSE). The TSE also approved the emblem of the party. The emblem appears on the ballot, helping illiterate voters to recognize the party's candidates.
As part of the process, Zelaya presented the charter of the new party, its electoral plans for the upcoming election, and evidence of organizational structures present in at least half of the 298 municipios of Honduras.
Libre's declaration of principles has been published on (and can be downloaded from) the FNRP website. The document is well worth a close and careful reading; we have posted our own English translation to enable readers to do that.
Among the core principles the party declares is the primacy of popular sovereignty. In the wake of the 2009 coup, the existence in the Honduran Constitution of articles that could not be changed was challenged by constitutional scholars as violating the principle that the authority of a constitution stems from the people. The Frente has, in its own processes, employed direct, participatory deliberation in the Assembly of Popular Power, which is specifically characterized as basic to the project of the new party.
While many aspects of the program proposed are entirely contemporary-- including the firm rejection of neoliberalism, imperialism, and neocolonialism-- the party also calls on specifically Central American roots. As a Morazanic party, it espouses the "dream" of Central American unity and projects that farther, as a basic call for solidarity of all the Latin American and Caribbean peoples of the Americas. Libre specifically calls for respect for religious diversity, secularism, respect for the rights of women, and calls for the eradication of discrimination on the basis of "race, sex, sexual diversity, cultural difference".
Libre is the second new political party registered with the TSE this year. The first belonged to Salvador Nasralla, whose Anti-Corruption Party registered in early October. The Honduran press has taken up the question of whether the founding of new parties will actually change the de facto domination by the Liberal and National parties, and, unsurprisingly, concludes that it will not.
El Heraldo quotes Rafael Pineda Ponce, who was part of the regime of Roberto Micheletti, saying the new parties won't change things: better the old and familiar than the new and unknown, he says the Honduran people will conclude. Of course, Pineda Ponce is busy promoting his own preferred candidate for the Liberal party, who he claims can unite its fractured factions: Mauricio Villeda. He reserves particularly pungent words for members of the Liberal party who also maintain (he thinks) an allegiance to Zelaya:
"O se quedan con Jesucristo o se quedan con Satanás" (They either stay with Jesus or with Satan).Indeed. Never has the opinion of the Micheletti wing of the Liberal party been clearer. For them, all the principles expressed by Libre are whitewash for a Zelaya movement. And sticking with Zelaya-- well, we'll let you figure out who is Satan in this metaphor.