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HONDURAS
Society

Society

State structure

The President is elected for a single four-year term. Proposals to amend the constitution in favour of re-election have not been adopted so far. The National Congress consists of 128 members elected for four years. For every 35,000 votes, there is one Congressman and one deputy. The Cabinet meets monthly, chaired by the Minister of the Presidential Staff. Three more cabinets have been added to the cabinet, namely the "cabinet for reconstruction", the "economic cabinet" and the "social cabinet".

Honduras has a legal system that is based on the US system, with the Supreme Court as the highest legal body. The 15 members of the Supreme Court are appointed by the Congress for seven years. This appointment is ratified by the President.

In 1990, Honduras started a decentralisation process. Thus, in the 1997 elections, voters could, for the first time, also vote for local government candidates.

Politics

Two parties have long dominated the political scene in Honduras: the Partido Nacional (PN) and the Partido Liberal (PL). Particularly in the period 1963-1982, the PN provided many persons for the incumbent military regime. Outside of that period, the PL in particular was and is the predominant winner of the elections.

The programme of the current government, led by President Ricardo Maduro, is characterised by a pragmatic approach. It envisages a shared vision for the long-term development of Honduras. Seven themes are central to this vision: security of persons and property; strengthening democracy; growth and distribution; human development; the fight against corruption; environmental sustainability and, finally, foreign policy. Maduro's first preoccupation is security. The army has been called in to support the police in the fight against increasing violence in the four big cities.

However, the security situation in the country is still far from stable (for example, despite the fall in the number of murders, the number of child murders is not falling). Arresting young people solely on the basis of wearing a tattoo (suspected membership of violent gangs, so-called maras) undoubtedly brings the government into further conflict with human rights organisations. Finally, although the economic situation has improved, it has not yet stabilised. It remains to be seen whether further growth in GNP and other targeted measures will actually reduce the poverty figures.

The elections of 26 November 2005 were won by Manuel 'Mel' Zelaya Rosales. On 27 January 2006, Zelaya will officially succeed President Ricardo Maduro. The government of President Zelaya is the seventh democratically elected government since the return of democracy in late 1981. Zelaya is known as a conservative. He was a member of parliament in the 1990s and as minister responsible for managing a large social investment fund. One theme that he focused on during the election campaign was 'popular participation in local decision-making'. He believes that local communities have insufficient access to the distribution of public funds. He is expected to broadly continue the economic and social policies of his predecessor Madur o. Extra attention will be paid to creating employment and combating organised violence. He will not use the death penalty like Lobo, his opponent in the elections.

Trade unions have a great influence on domestic politics. Especially among workers in the banana sector, teachers and employees in autonomous public bodies, the trade unions have a lot of members. Strikes for higher wages in the various sectors in July 2001 were relatively peaceful. Recently, the indigenous population is also making its voice heard on issues of public care and land distribution.

The army's influence has been further curtailed. In the early 1990s conscription was abolished. The role of the army has been reduced to carrying out tasks concerning national security, combating drugs, illegal arms trade and the environment.

The current political situation is described in the history chapter.

Economie

Honduras was badly hit by Hurricane Mitch in 1998. The agricultural sector in particular was hit hard. Where initially an economic growth of 5% was predicted, this dropped to 2.5%. In 1999, the growth rate was even negative. The year 2000 showed a positive growth rate again (4.8%). This growth was mainly caused by the export of agricultural products and increasing tourism.

In addition to rebuilding the country and the economy, the government had set itself the objective of a strict fiscal policy. In doing so, it had the support of the IMF with which it agreed on a new tranche of the Poverty Reduction and Growth Framework (PRGF). This policy has brought economic recovery to Honduras since 1999. In 2000, Honduras was admitted to the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries initiative. This meant international recognition of Honduras' macroeconomic, structural and social policies. As a result, Honduras was eligible for a US$ 900 million reduction in debt service obligations for the coming years. The privatisation programme will also be continued.

The Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP), an integrated framework for the implementation of poverty reduction measures, was finalised in August 2001 in close consultation with the multilateral and bilateral donors and with civil society groups (NGOs). Implementation of the agreed measures in the PRSP includes an anti-corruption strategy, social security reform, strengthening of the financial sector, improvement of education and health care and of the effectiveness of social safety nets.

Honduras' economy grew by 3.8%,3.9% and 2.8% in 2011,2012 and 2013 respectively. Currently (2018), the economy is growing about 5% per year. The GDP per capita is $5,600 (2017). 30% of the population lives below the poverty line.

Sources

Elmar Landeninformatie

CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated May 2022
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