On November 29 the people of Honduras will vote for a new president and legislature to govern their country over the next four years. The elections are now the only fair and democratic way to heal the crisis begun well before the June 28th removal of President Manuel Zelaya.
Former president Zelaya, Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, the Organization of American States, and many liberals in the U.S. are banking on a low, indifferent turnout. They want to prove that a climate of repression, fear, and the lack of political options is keeping Hondurans away from the polls. Ironically, these “friends of democracy” are anxious to negate the vote of Hondurans in their effort to prove the only solution to the crisis is the restoration of Manuel Zelaya to presidential power.
A large turnout, regardless of who wins, will help swing U.S. and international opinion in the opposite direction. It will give fresh momentum to the president-elect as he builds a new leadership team and tries to heal the breach in Honduras’ body politic. It will direct attention away from the disgruntled Zelaya and toward the future.
The choice for Hondurans on Sunday November 29 is as follows:
- Stay Home, Don’t Vote, and Let Zelaya, Chavez & Co. Become the real winners. Low voter numbers will likely allow the political crisis to drag on indefinitely with charges and counter-charges about the legitimacy of the vote. It will give outsiders ammunition for further involvement in the internal affairs of Honduras.
- Go Out, Vote, and Let Honduras Move On. High voter turnout will not only give a powerful mandate to the winner, it will also demonstrate confidence in the ballot box as the only way to resolve the crisis. Big numbers will send a clear signal that the people of Honduras believe their votes must count, that their leaders are genuine, and that the electoral process is working.
In the 2005 elections, 2 million of Honduras’ 4 million registered voters went to the polls. Honduras’ future hinges on the individual choices of these four million Hondurans who have the right to decide what is best for their nation.
FYI: Three members of the Heritage Foundation staff – Ray Walser, Jim Roberts and Israel Ortega – will be in Honduras observing the elections, meeting with Hondurans, watching the vote count, and reporting back their observations.