Article 239 of the Honduran Constitution reads:
Article 239 — No citizen that has already served as head of the Executive Branch can be President or Vice-President.
Whoever violates this law or proposes its reform, as well as those that support such violation directly or indirectly, will immediately cease in their functions and will be unable to hold any public office for a period of 10 years.
It’s not exactly like the U.S. Constitution, but does it violate norms of democratic republican government? I don’t think so. The problem of presidents who never leave power is all too common among undeveloped countries, so a very strict prohibition against multiple terms of office seems appropriate.
Zelaya directly violated Article 239 by ordering an election to reform the Constitution in order to keep himself in power beyond his term of office. He was then removed from office as the Constitution of his own country calls for.
How was Zelaya’s removal from office unlawful? It seems to be exactly what the Constitution of Honduras requires given his crime. Obama should be praising Honduras for following its own Constitution and peacefully removing a president from power. Instead, he demands that Honduras violate its own Constitution by bringing Zelaya back.
Obama’s support of Zelaya is the most outrageous thing he’s done since he was elected. I knew he was a liberal, and expected stuff like tax increases and judicial appointments like Sonia Sotomayor. What I didn’t expect was that he would demand that a guy trying to become president-for-life be returned to power after he was lawfully removed by his own country’s legal processes.
Does Obama sympathize with Zelaya because he plans to violate Article XXII of the U.S. Constitution (which was proposed and ratified in the United States after President Roosevelt refused to honor the two-term tradition set by George Washington)?
The New York Times, which supposedly publishes all the news that's fit to print, doesn't see fit to write about Article 239 of the Honduran Constitution and how Zelaya's removal was consistent with Honduran law.
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In response to a comment, here is the Honduran Article 239 from a trustworthy source. I have no idea what it says:
ARTICULO 239.- El ciudadano que haya desempeñado la titularidad del Poder Ejecutivo no podrá ser Presidente o Designado. El que quebrante esta disposición o proponga su reforma, así como aquellos que lo apoyen directa o indirectamente, cesarán de inmediato en el desempeño de sus respectivos cargos, y quedarán inhabilitados por diez años para el ejercicio de toda función pública.
I plugged this into a free web-based translation tool:
I ARTICULATE 239.- The citizen that have performed the ownership of the Executive Power will not be able to be a President or Appointed. The one that break this disposition or propose their reform, as well as those that support the direct or indirectly, they will cease immediately in the performance of their respective charges, and they will remain disqualified by ten years for the exercise of every civil service.
The entire Constitution can be read here.