Monday, February 1, 2016

Third Round of Voting for Supreme Court Underway

Something historic is going on in the Honduran Congress.  Today they are trying for the third time to elect the remaining seven justices of the Supreme Court.  The first round of voting yielded eight elected justices, five affiliated with the Liberal Party, one without party affiliation, and two affiliated with the National Party.  Mauricio Oliva tried to convene Congress the next day to elect the other seven justices, but failed because PAC and Libre declined to participate in the election, so no candidate could get 86 votes.

Over the weekend, all of the parties met to try and reach some kind of accommodation, but both the National and Liberal Parties are sticking with a partitioning of court membership allocated to only those two parties, where party affiliation is more important that the candidate's qualifications or independence.  This is the status quo.  This is how these two parties have conducted the Supreme Court appointments since 1982 when the Honduran constitution was enacted.  However, at least as of last Friday both PAC and Libre were rejecting the party quota system being argued by the two older parties.  Officially as of this morning there was no acknowledged agreement, though the Honduran press reported that PAC was considering a partitioning of the Supreme Court that included candidates they could support.  There are no PAC or Libre candidates in the pool of 37 from which the selection must be made, because the Nominating committee eliminated them and divided the slate of nominations between the National and Liberal party affiliated candidates.

In the voting today, Libre issued a communique in which it rejected the negotiations for the partitioning of the Supreme Court by party, and instead proposed a series of referenda and plebiscites, as well as approval of a suite of laws.  If Libre is able to maintain party discipline, its Congressional bench will cast no votes today.

Unlike Libre which officially adopted the position of not voting for any of the candidates, PAC had identified a slate of 16 candidates it considered qualified, of which one was elected in the first round of voting.  National Party operatives felt there was still a possibility of an agreement with PAC over a partitioning of the remaining justices, but officially, PAC said nothing publicly.

The voting is underway as I write this.


RNS said...

Twitter reports that the vote did not succeed, that no justices were elected. No official confirmation, however.

RNS said...

Confirmed. No justices elected in 3rd round of voting. Congress was dismissed for the evening, to reconvene at 3 pm tomorrow.