Amid Protests, Honduran President Is Sworn In for 2nd Term

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras — Facing a polarized nation within the aftermath of a disputed election, Juan Orlando Hernández was sworn in on Saturday for a second time period as president of Honduras.

The pomp-filled ceremony on the nationwide stadium within the capital, Tegucigalpa, was marred by giant clashes outdoors between safety forces and protesters.

Mr. Hernández, 49, begins his new time period confronted by questions over his authorities’s violent crackdown on , and its dedication to preventing corruption.

As the early-morning ceremony unfolded on the stadium, safety forces fired tear gasoline on protesters marching towards the occasion. Among the demonstrators, who numbered within the hundreds, was the opposition candidate, Salvador Nasralla, who has refused to just accept the election outcomes.

Observers from the European Union and the Organization of American States documented many irregularities within the election. The poll depend was suspended a number of instances, and Mr. Nasralla, who had been considerably forward, was finally declared to have misplaced by about 50,000 votes.

Fernando Antonio/Associated Press

Although the massive demonstrations within the weeks after the election have dwindled, Mr. Nasralla’s supporters have continued to protest, assembly with a pointy police response. As many as 22 individuals have been killed by safety forces, in accordance with a tally by the Committee of Relatives of the Disappeared in Honduras, a human rights group.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Honduras have referred to as on safety forces to cease what they referred to as the “unlawful and extreme use of pressure” to interrupt up protests. This previous week, each organizations reported that human rights activists, journalists and others proceed to face threats and harassment.

In addition to the disputed outcomes, the opposition additionally argues that Mr. Hernández by no means ought to have been on the poll within the first place.

What put him there was a ruling by the Supreme Court, which lifted the Constitution’s ironclad ban on presidential re-elections in a circuitous ruling two years in the past. The 5 judges who made the choice all owed their positions to Mr. Hernández.

The president has steadily taken management over a lot of the federal government, filling impartial establishments, together with the Supreme Court, together with his allies. Critics mentioned a regulation handed by Congress this month confirmed that the postelection turmoil has not dissuaded him from persevering with to amass energy.

Eduardo Verdugo/Associated Press

The regulation targets the lawyer common’s workplace, which has been pursuing high-level corruption instances, working with a world panel that Mr. Hernández was compelled to just accept after months of antigraft protests in 2015. On Jan. 18, Congress all however shut down these instances, successfully pulling the lawyer common’s authority to research the theft of public funds destined for social initiatives.

Juan Jiménez Mayor, a former prime minister of Peru, who leads the anticorruption panel, denounced the regulation and mentioned it might block investigations into as many as 60 present and former Honduran legislators, in addition to high-ranking officers within the authorities. Among them, Mr. Jiménez mentioned, is the highly effective president of Congress, Mauricio Oliva, an in depth ally of Mr. Hernández.

“Politically, they picked the worst second to approve this regulation,” mentioned Raúl Pineda Alvarado, a political analyst, calling it “an unlawful monstrosity.” “For all the hassle the federal government might make, residents perceive that this regulation is made to favor the corrupt.”

Eduardo Verdugo/Associated Press

Already a choose has dismissed instances in opposition to 5 former legislators who have been charged with embezzling authorities funds, citing the brand new regulation. Mr. Jiménez mentioned the regulation may result in the discharge of Mario Zelaya, the previous head of Honduras’s major public well being company, who’s accused of stealing as a lot as $300 million. Some of that cash discovered its technique to Mr. Hernández’s 2013 presidential marketing campaign, although he has denied that he knew the supply of the funds.

Heide Fulton, the chargé d’affaires on the United States Embassy, referred to as the regulation a “ within the struggle in opposition to corruption.”

Mr. Hernández has not commented on the regulation, however few in Honduras imagine that he performed no position in its approval. “This is a call taken on the highest political ranges of the nation and it’s irreversible,” mentioned Edmundo Orellana, a former lawyer common and professor of constitutional regulation on the National Autonomous University of Honduras.

Eduardo Verdugo/Associated Press

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