Honduras in legislative crisis before the inauguration

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) — Just two days from the inauguration of its next president, Honduras on Tuesday mired in a legislative crisis that bordered on the absurd.

Early in the morning, when the new Congress was to open its first session, rival congressional leadership teams convened two concurrent concurrent sessions.

One, loyal to President-elect Xiomara Castro, met in the National Congress Hall. The other, led by dissident members of his own party, was conducted virtually, with support from incumbent President Juan Orlando Hernández’s party and another opposition party.

The political schism has the potential to make it almost impossible for Castro to govern.

This seems to be the primary goal of some of those involved. Hernández’s presentation of his administration’s results to rebel congressional leaders on Tuesday heightened the suspicions of many who see the situation as an attempt to boost Castro’s government before it even begins.

Interior Minister Hernández chaired the initial meeting of the new Congress on Friday and did not allow Castro’s party to put forward its formal choice for Congress president. Instead, 20 dissident members of Castro’s party proposed someone else and chaos ensued.

“It’s a major distraction,” a former US ambassador to Honduras, Lisa Kubiske, told a conference hosted by the Atlantic Council on Tuesday. “It makes people wonder who is responsible. This raises questions about the extent to which the government is committed to the rule of law and the separation of powers.

She said the United States sees tremendous opportunity in the region with Castro’s government. The Biden administration does not get along well with the governments of neighboring El Salvador and Guatemala, so a friendly administration in Tegucigalpa would be welcome in the region.

Vice President Kamala Harris leads the U.S. delegation to Castro’s inauguration on Thursday.

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