Explaining Honduras’s Opposition Alliance

The purpose of Honduras’s Opposition Alliance, made up of three more or less left-voting Honduran political parties (LIBRE which is left, PAC which is considered center rather than left, and PINU which is largely considered left), is primarily to defeat current Honduran President Hernandez and the National Party, Honduras’s largest party relative to its size in the National Congress. President Hernandez is the first president in decades who is running for reelection. He has the backing of the National Party and the Opposition Alliance is determined to fight him for votes by strengthening the ties between the opposition parties and selecting a single candidate to run against President Hernandez in November rather than dividing the vote with multiple candidates from parties with similar goals and who historically have voted together anyway.

This plan is complicated by the fact that parties outside of the Opposition Alliance and the National Party, such as the Liberal Party, are still submitting candidates to run for president which will divide up the vote. As a response to this it appears that the leadership of the Alliance are committed to coming up with additional ways to strengthen their voter turnout and win vital victories across the country to reduce the legislative clout of the National Party which would strengthen the roles of other parties including the Liberal Party even if they didn’t work with them.

Fascinatingly while Honduras’s Liberal Party reportedly decided against joining the Opposition Alliance in full local leaders appear to have no issue with small local partnerships in territory currently controlled by the National Party and it appears that leadership within the Liberal Party are having conversations about how to publicly talk about the Alliance and have mixed opinions with some calling for their party to not antagonize the Opposition Alliance. One such leader is Mario Noe Villafranca,  who went on Twitter and asked that his party not attack members of LIBRE specifically and the Alliance in general.

Of course this is not an easy thing to do and as we get closer and closer to the General Election in November it’ll be harder for politicians to resist the urge to attack other politicians and other political parties, especially as the politicians in Honduras begin having to make stronger cases for themselves and against other politicians and political groups. One of the important distinctions to note is that while a complex web of alliances emerge on the ground in the form of fighting for mayoral seats in the various municipalities, the battle for the Presidency is most likely going to be a vicious one given the previously noted fact that this is the first time in decades a sitting President will be running for reelection and is the first time a President does so while Honduras’s current constitution is in effect. Throughout the past four years massive protests have taken place nationwide calling for an end to the governmental corruption which has plagued Honduras for a long time but most notably came to a head during the administrations of former President Porforio Lobo and current President Juan Orlando Hernandez’s terms in the form of the IHSS scandal, and the trial of a former vice-president of the National Congress; Lena Gutierrez’s family and family-owned business Astropharma with gigantic demonstrations taking place throughout 2015 during parts of 2016.

Some English reporting on the Alliance includes this article by Reuters which talks about Nasralla, the head of the Anti-Corruption Party (PAC) and his role as the figurehead leader of the Opposition Alliance and points out that some members of the Honduran right are siding with the Alliance in a move that will probably shock newcomers to Honduran politics.

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The Honduran Opposition Alliance will be a major factor in Honduras’s General Election which is scheduled to take place November 26th 2017.

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