Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Very True!

June 30

The Independent, London, on the ousting of Honduran President Manuel Zelaya:

The ousting of the Honduran President Manuel Zelaya by the country's military at the weekend has been condemned by many members of the international community as an affront to democracy. But despite a natural distaste for any military coup, it is possible that the army might have actually done Honduran democracy a service.

President Zelaya was planning a referendum to give him power to alter the constitution. But the proposed alterations were perilously vague, with opponents accusing Mr. Zelaya of wanting to scrap the four-year presidential term limit. The country's courts and congress had called the vote illegal.

This is an increasingly familiar turn of events in emerging democracies: an elected leader, facing the end of his time in office, decides that the country cannot do without him and resorts to dubious measures to retain power. ...

Honduras underlines that free votes only count if accompanied by a confident parliament, an independent judiciary, an unfettered media and impartial electoral monitors. The true test of a democracy's health is not the holding of elections. It is the possibility of power peaceably changing hands.

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