Honduran Congress Votes for Impeachment

The National Congress of Honduras has approved reforms to several articles of the Honduras Constitution aimed at granting Congress the ability to remove an official from office.

The measure was recommended by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (Comisión de la Verdad y la Reconciliación – CVR) in 2011, and would be considered similar to the impeachment process in the United States of America.  Entities subject to the reform are the President of the Republic and his presidential appointees, members of Congress and the Central American Parliament, judges of the Supreme Court, and other municipal and public servants of Honduras.

This constitutional change is designed to address potential problems within the three branches of power of the State of Honduras, and some other high ranking officials, who might commit abuse of power and authority in the performance of their duties. In this most cases, the impeachment would require a majority vote of two thirds (86 votes) of Congress for the measure to pass; in the case of the presidency, however, a special majority of three-quarters of the Congress (96 votes), is to be required.

The measure of allowing impeachment proceedings was approved by Congress with 111 votes in favor, 5 votes against, and 5 abstentions. For the reform to take place, there must be another approval by a two-thirds majority vote of the upcoming Congress, and a special law would have to be written by the legislature.

The reform would require an addition to Article 205 of the Constitution of Honduras, as well as Articles 233 and 234.

The concept of the political procedure referred to as impeachment, had previously been contained in Article 205, Section 15 of the Honduran Constitution, but was repealed by Decree 175-2003 in 2003. The provision, before being repealed, stated that the National Congress had the power to declare whether cause existed to file charges against the President and other high officers of the three branches of government.  It did not, however, provide the procedure to follow in such cases. The same Decree also repealed Article 200 of the Honduras Constitution, which granted general immunity to the Deputies of the National Congress.  Therefore, currently, no public officer has immunity in Honduras.

Editor’s Note



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