Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Lobo: Honduras Wants Change

Porfirio Lobo Sosa will start his dialogue with the organized social and political organizations this coming Saturday.

Already he's saying that the results of that dialogue need to be proposed as constitutional changes before the end of this year, because changes proposed in 2012 would require approval by whoever wins the 2013 elections.

Speaking to his Cabinet, he said
"There are those who don't want us to listen to the people, being mixed up; leave them behind; they're not important; I tell those of you who have confidence in me that no one will remove me from my path, no one. Why? because, just as some of you don't like to read much, some, but I read every day: the doctrine of christian socialism; that's where I am placed and no one will remove me unless they do something (he laughs) which violates the norms."

Lobo announced that each session of his dialogue will last three or four hours and participants will be encouraged to present their vision of necessary changes: not just political, but economic and social as well.
"There go those crickets who go, the assembly which Pepe Lobo is talking about is the Constituyente. I have not said a Constituyente. I have said that we cannot sit waiting for a Constituyente, if a Constituyente comes, or does not come, I have the responsibility to make changes because Honduras wants change."

Lobo Sosa's consultations do not depend on the much-touted law that was supposed to enable plebiscites and referenda, because that law is gathering dust in Congress.

The law was passed by two-thirds of Congress, but the actual operationalization, drafted in committee, sits in a drawer somewhere.

As drafted in committee, the law actually makes it almost impossible to hold a referendum, requiring signatures of at least 2 percent of the registered electorate, plus the support of ten congress persons and a Presidential resolution, in order to get considered by the Congress.

Then, and only then, Congress has to discuss the issue and vote to move it forward or not, and determine the language used in the referendum before handing it off to the Election Tribunal.

Any referendum approved following this process will pass if it receives the support of 51 percent of an electorate equal in size to that which voted in the last general election.

These are high barriers that predictably will have the result of preventing anything controversial from being considered by the voting public.

As El Heraldo noted, every proposal has to pass through Congress, where members can halt anything that damages their interests.

Pepe Lobo may be right about Honduras wanting change.

But the law that is supposed to make that possible shows that Congress clearly does not.

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