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Honduras lawmaker warns Zelaya reinstatement decision may be delayed

[JURIST] President of the Honduran National Congress [official website, in Spanish] Jose Alfredo Saavedra said Monday that lawmakers will most likely not make a decision about whether to restore ousted president Manuel Zelaya [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] before the country's presidential elections take place later this month. Saavedra said that congress is awaiting an opinion from the Honduran Supreme Court [official website, in Spanish], and there is no indication when the court might rule. An agreement, known as the Tegucigalpa/San Jose Accord [Honduras News materials], reached last month would allow Zelaya to return to power conditioned on Supreme Court approval with a subsequent affirmative vote from the Honduran legislature. The US, which has refused to recognize the existence of the interim government headed by Roberto Micheletti [BBC profile], has warned that it will not support the elections if there is no adherence to the agreement that it helped broker. The accord calls for a unified government and leaves the decision to reinstate Zelaya in the hands of congress. It also called for Zelaya to propose members of the reconciliation government by November 5. Both Zelaya and Micheletti declared the agreement void last week after Zelaya did not submit names and Micheletti unilaterally announced a unity government.

In July, the Honduran Supreme Court refused [JURIST report] a petition by Organization of American States (OAS) [official website] Secretary General calling for the reinstatement of Zelaya as the country's head of state. Zelaya was ousted [JURIST report] in June, following a judicial order [press release, in Spanish] asserting that he had broken Honduran law by attempting to conduct a controversial referendum on constitutional reform [JURIST report], contrary to a Honduran Supreme Court ruling. Zelaya has made several failed attempts to return to office, including attempting to fly into the country accompanied by international leaders.

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