Blog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law

Honduras crisis comes to a close

Honduras’ political crisis is coming to an end. Five months after being forced out of the country by the military, Manuel Zelaya will apparently be allowed to resume his term of office. The country’s election scheduled for later this month, in which Zelaya is not a candidate, will proceed as planned. I’d like to pose an open question to our bloggers and readers: what are the lessons of the crisis for constitutional design and constitutional politics?



5 responses to “Honduras crisis comes to a close”

  1. Eduardo Avatar

    The US should but out of other countries’ internal disputes.

  2. Larry Catá Backer Avatar

    I have a slightly different take on the events. See “Transnational Constitutionalism Triumphant: The End of the Honduran Constitutional Crisis,” available at

  3. Tom Ginsburg Avatar
    Tom Ginsburg

    Larry’s analysis is quite lucid. He emphasizes the role of the US in particular, and the broader international community more broadly, in upholding transnational constitutionalism.

    Whither the rule of law in this drama, I wonder. The Honduran constitution has an internal mechanism for adjudicating these matters, and the process played out locally with the Supreme Court holding that Zelaya had lost his right to continue serving. For some reason, that decision was entitled to no international respect, while the decision of President Ortega’s constitutional court declaring Nicaragua’s term limits unconstitutional was by and large accepted outside the country. One consistent way to read this is that we like term extensions by left-wing presidents, though the international criticism of Hugo Chavez earlier this year might belie that simple view.

    The other possible reading is that you can do what you like as long as you keep the military out of it. would it make a difference if Zelaya had been arrested by the police alone?

  4. J.S. Avatar

    Maybe the international community felt that the idea of removing and exiling an elected president merely for proposing a certain constitutional change is dubious and undemocratic, even if it respects the formal letter of the law.

    But I agree that what matters most was probably that there was the outward appearance of a military coup, even if the reality was more complex than that.

  5. TINP Avatar

    The public and the press are simple minded, their logic is lowest-common-denominator, they are constitutionally illiterate, and if enough of these left-wing simple minded zealots raise hell for long enough, using the force of their mass to propel their illiterate lies, they can create a media COUP D’ETAT on a lawful sitting government and restore the ILLEGAL actor to power.

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