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Political Pact in Honduras Appears to Fall Apart

BY Larisa Epatko  November 6, 2009 at 10:20 AM EDT

Roberto Micheletti; STR/AFP/Getty Images

A U.S.-brokered deal meant to mend the political crisis in Honduras by forming a unity government has fallen apart, ousted President Manuel Zelaya said Friday.

“The accord is dead,” Zelaya told Radio Globo, according to the Associated Press. “There is no sense in deceiving Hondurans.”

The agreement gave Zelaya, who was removed from office by the military in June, and interim leader Roberto Micheletti until midnight Thursday to install a government with supporters of both sides.

Jorge Reina, a negotiator for Zelaya, said Congress failed to vote on whether to reinstate the deposed president before the deadline for forming the unity government.

“The de facto regime has failed to live up to the promise that, by this date, the national government would be installed. And by law, it should be presided by the president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya,” Reina said, according to the AP.

But Micheletti’s supporters refuted that, contending that the agreement said members of the unity Cabinet had to be in place by Thursday, but that there was no deadline for Congress to meet.

Just before midnight, Micheletti said a unity government was formed even though Zelaya had not submitted his list of members. Micheletti said the new government was made up of candidates proposed by political parties and civic groups, though he did not name the new members.

“Everybody, with the exception of Mr. Zelaya, recommended Hondurans to lead the institutions of our country as part of the new government,” Micheletti said, reported the AP.

The deal’s implosion raises questions about the presidential election, planned for Nov. 29. Zelaya has asked Hondurans to boycott the vote, according to Reuters.

The accord, signed last week, did not specify who would lead the interim government. Zelaya praised the deal at first, saying it paved the way for him to return to power.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Organization of American States had also celebrated the deal as a win for democracy.

The European Union, United States and multilateral agencies had suspended aid to Honduras following Zelaya’s ouster. He has been holed up at the Brazilian Embassy in Honduras since September.

In June, Zelaya was removed from the country by gunpoint after the Supreme Court ordered his arrest for violating the constitution by seeking to change it. Zelaya’s opponents say he wanted to change the constitution to extend presidential term limits, which he denies.