The long-awaited election went remarkable smoothly and with very little controversy. Despite the various warnings that we had gotten from the PC and other sources about the potential for some forms of political disturbance, almost nothing seemed to happen. It was a bright, sunny day with a lot of people standing patiently in line and notable only for how quite everything was. The turnout seemed good, although perhaps not as high as the initial sources suggested. They seem to be having trouble figuring out how to account for the approximately 1 million eligible voters who now live in the U.S and don´t show up at the polls, even though there were five locations in the U.S. where they could have voted. The news coverage was thorough and there did not seem to be any indication that the results were not legitimate. The results came in a little more slowly than promised, but seem reliable. Almost everyone that we have spoken with seems pleased with the process, even if they may not have particularly liked the results, and generally characterize it as having been a uniquely open and transparent election. The National Party, which is the pro-business party and more conservative, won handily on a campaign that proposed unspecified changes while highlighting the fact that they were not at all linked with either Hugo Chavez or Mel Zelaya. The Liberal Party, which holds a majority, was divided by the current controversy and hurt by the fact that Zelaya is a Liberal. The results have been generally interpreted here as a rejection of Zelaya´s efforts to forge more of a link with Chavez and his political allies, who are the dominant force in Latin American politics in many areas right now.
In a related development this week, the National Congress considered the possible restitution of Zelaya, as it was required to do under the accords that were brokered by the U.S. about a month ago. Restitution was soundly rejected, by a vote of 111-14. Again Zelaya seems to have badly misjudged his level of support,as it was he who had pushed for having Congress decide this point and his party, the Liberals, still hold a majority in Congress. (With the recent election, it seems clear that the National Party will have a majority in the next term, although with the very complex form of proportional allocation of seats that is used, the exact results of that allocation still have not been finally determined.) The international community is apparently disappointed that the coup was not undone, but Honduras seems to be getting used to going its own way these days.
We found all of this to be very interesting and hope that it is not too esoteric for you all. The World Cup draw for Honduras looks very difficult, but much more favorable for the U.S. This topic will now replace politics in public discussions somewhat, I suspect. We are well.