Representatives for Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez, or JOH, said on Monday that the head of state will not take part in the long-anticipated dialogues to resolve the country’s political crisis sparked by the allegedly fraudulent November 2017 elections.
"The President of the Republic has the obligation and duty to govern the country. He has dozens of daily commitments and sitting at the dialogue table would take up hours of his work," said the Honduran Minister of the Presidency, Ebal Diaz to the press.
Diaz, who will replace the president at the Tuesday meeting said Hernandez, "does not have space in his agenda to participate" in the talks but that that "doesn’t mean he’s not interested in the topic." Diaz is set to partake in the meeting that will include the United Nations representative in Honduras, Igor Garafulic, and the political party, Libre, headed by ousted president Manuel Zelaya, as well as the former presidential candidate for the Alliance Opposition, Salvador Nasralla.
Since the elections took place last year Nasralla and Zelaya have contended that the Supreme Electoral Tribunal rigged the elections in favor of incumbent JOH. United Nations and Organization of American States (OAS) electoral observers agreed that the 2017 Honduran elections were so fraught with irregularities a real winner was impossible to determine. After several weeks of civil protests during which national human rights organizations, Cofadeh says the government killed at least 32 demonstrators and arrested some 1,350, JOH from the National Party was named the winner.
"We enthusiastically hope this forum of talks brings concrete agreements that allow the reconciliation of the Honduran family," Diaz said.
The Minister said that the ruling National Party is "committed to supporting the agreements achieved" during the talks, and encouraged the Libre party and Zelaya to pledge their commitment to the dialogues.
"It's time we sit down to work. Let's leave the differences behind because Honduras deserves it … for the sake of the whole country," ended Diaz.
Zelaya has long said he won’t participate in the talks without certain conditions, mainly that the resolutions be binding. The dialogues have had a hard time getting off the ground since first announced last March.
On Sunday Zelaya was leading a “Dialogue With The People” rally in Isi Oben during which his son, Hector Zelaya, tweeted: “Meanwhile they all converse in air-conditioned hotels we are here about to start a Dialogue With the People in Pedregal neighborhood.”