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Putsch in Honduras: Störfall in der defekten Demokratie

Coup in Honduras: malfunctioning of a defective democracy
[journal article]

Oettler, Anika; Peetz, Peter

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Abstract "In Honduras werden alle wesentlichen Entscheidungen traditionell zwischen den Fraktionen einer konservativen Elite ausgehandelt. Vor dem Putsch gegen den gewählten Präsidenten Zelaya führten Konflikte im Establishment zum Bruch. Der Präsident war isoliert und versuchte sich mit Hilfe von sozialen Bewegungen und der Unterstützung der radikalpopulistischen Regime der Region durchzusetzen, was zu seiner Absetzung führte. Die Versuche der Konfliktlösung scheinen auf die Wiederherstellung des Elitenkonsenses abzuzielen." (Autorenreferat)

"The debate on the coup against Honduran President Zelaya risks running aground on an illusion concerning the functioning of Honduran democracy. Conflict dynamics there at present are directly related to the country's political culture, which since the 1980s has been shaped by the deal struck among the elite and shows clear signs of 'defective democracy'. Zelaya was regarded at first as a liberal politician with oligarchic roots and a social bent. While to begin with he obeyed the informal rules of the political process, for example, in terms of his personnel policy, from 2008 a clear political about-turn set in: Zelaya reshaped the media and announced his country's accession to Alba, the integration alliance launched by Hugo Chávez. The trigger (but not the cause) of the coup against Zelaya was an opinion poll on whether there should be a referendum on convening a legislative assembly at the same time as the elections on November 29, 2009. With his commitment to the opinion poll, Zelaya not only contravened the rule of law with regard to the separation of powers (for example, by flouting the decisions of the Supreme Court), but also violated the informal rules of Honduran 'elite consensus-based democracy' with his provocative actions. Compared with Zelaya's legal infringements, however, the military coup was something much more radical and a totally unjustifiable violation of the democratic rules of the game. The coup in Honduras must be seen in connection with the issue of failed presidencies which affects the whole of Latin America. In contrast to many other cases in which presidencies in Latin America were terminated prematurely, Zelaya was not overthrown as a result of social protests. Rather escalation mounted due to inter-institutional and inter-personal clashes. In the run up to the coup, Zelaya was becoming increasingly isolated from the rest of the state, political and socioeconomic establishment (parties, parliament, judicial system, military) and had begun to pursue the populist ideology of Chavismo. By means of the coup in Honduras and its consequences, a social protest movement has a broad - if not a majority - base in the population for the first time in decades. In this way a weakening of the traditional, elite-governed two party system in Honduras has become possible. On the other hand, the forces of inertia appear largely unimpaired. The shady negotiation of the agreement between Zelaya and Micheletti in October 2009 gave reason to fear that backroom deals among the elite in the grey area between authoritarianism and 'real' democracy are still the political modus operandi in Honduras." (author's abstract)
Keywords Honduras; coup d'etat; military; political elite; president; conflict resolution; conflict; Latin America; political system; international relations; political crisis; political culture; democracy; authoritarianism; presidential election; inventory; historical development; Central America; developing country
Classification Peace and Conflict Research, International Conflicts, Security Policy; Political Process, Elections, Political Sociology, Political Culture; Political System, Constitution, Government
Method descriptive study
Document language German
Publication Year 2010
Page/Pages p. 82-95
Journal Internationale Politik und Gesellschaft (2010) 1
ISSN 0945-2419
Status Published Version
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications
data provider This metadata entry was indexed by the Special Subject Collection Social Sciences, USB Cologne