As Central America faces numerous crises, it might be easy to overlook a minor legislative fight in Honduras. However, the institutional maneuverings of recent weeks constitute a prime example of questionable power grabs that degrade democracy and undermine anti-corruption efforts in the region.
The Honduran Congress was supposed to have chosen a new attorney general by the end of August, but its leaders failed to muster the supermajority of 86 votes required by the Constitution to do so. With the position still vacant on October 31, the body’s last day of work of the year, Congress President Luis Redondo named eight members of his ruling Free Party and President Xiomara Castro to a nine-member commission that then chose Johel Zelaya as interim. attorney general and Mario Morazan as his deputy. Both men also belong to the Free Party, despite the ban on belonging to a party for this supposedly apolitical position.
Libre, officially known as the Freedom and Refoundation Party, holds only 49 seats in the 128-member Congress, and its control over the congressional presidency is already controversial. In the month since Castro took office in January 2022, a fight for the congressional presidency has divided the party and briefly left the legislature with two leaders who both claimed authority. The various parties managed to avoid a constitutional crisis thanks to the pushback of Redondo’s opponents, but his legitimacy as president of Congress is weak.