Honduras´ Congress announced Tuesday it will wait to vote on whether ousted President Manuel Zelaya can return to power until Dec. 2 – three days after Hondurans are set to elect their new president.
The decision on Zelaya´s reinstatement was expected this month – ahead of the Nov. 29 elections – as one of the primary points toward forming a unity government under the Tegucigalpa-San José Accord. Many governments had pinned their support and recognition of the upcoming elections on whether that accord goes through.
But the agreement is only alive depending on whom you ask. Zelaya has said the pact is off and he will not recognize the winner of the elections.
Following the congressional announcement, de facto President Roberto Micheletti issued a statement in which he “reiterates his commitment to complying with the Tegucigalpa-San José Accord letter by letter, point by point.”
Zelaya was less conciliatory. “This is an outrage,” he told the newswire EFE upon learning of the post-electoral scheduling.
He added, “It´s a shame that the de facto regime is being supported by the United States.”
The remark came just before Craig Kelly, a senior official in Washington´s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, made another “surprise” arrival, in the Micheletti administration´s words. This was Kelly´s third visit in three weeks.
Critics say the U.S. made a marked shift in its stance on the issue of the Honduran elections after the top diplomat´s last visit.
“We recognize that the only path out of this is through an electoral process where the people of Honduras get to speak,” State Department Spokesman Philip J. Crowley said in a daily press briefing last week.
Neither Zelaya or Micheletti is running in the election.