[ExI] constitution amendments, was: iranian riots all a huge mistake

Mirco Romanato painlord2k at libero.it
Sun Jul 19 17:09:25 UTC 2009

Jeff Davis ha scritto:
> On Fri, Jul 17, 2009 at 3:10 AM, Mirco Romanato<painlord2k at libero.it> wrote:

>>> The referendum Zelaya called for ...

> I wrote the above, and now I find that I made a mistake.   Apparently
> the term "referendum" is wrong.  So permit me to correct myself.  The
> correct terminology should have been .

This is after the SCOH told him a referendum was illegal.
He changed the referendum in a "non-binding public consultation".
The SCOH told him "No" again.
The ballots arrived in Honduras from Venezuela (courtesy of Mr. Chavez),
but was seized by the customs. Zelaya leaded a group of supporters to
take them with the force from the customs and ordered the Head of the
Military to proceed with the consulation. The Head of the Military
refused to do so and was fired.
The Head of the Military went to the SCOH and complained. The SCOH ruled
the firing illegal and reinstated him (ordered the president to
reinstate him). The president refused. The military kicked him out in
the day of the vote.

> "Referendum" apparently has some legal meaning, which may in fact
> support Mirco's contention that
>> The only body that can propose a similar thing is the parliament of
>> Honduras.
> That said, before accepting the above as on point or accurate, it
> needs some authoritative support, like say a link to the Honduran
> constitution or an excerpt therefrom.   (It often turns out that in
> political discussions of this sort various "factoids" are propelled
> into the fray by pure political bias, with little concern for factual
> accuracy.  In order then to make progress, one needs to clean things
> up,one needs facts made of sterner stuff, reality-based, if you will.)

Google and Wikipedia usually are useful:



ARTICLE 102.- No Honduran can be expatriated nor handed over to the
authorities of a foreign country.[4]

ARTICLE 239. - The citizen that has held the title of Executive Power
cannot be President or Vice-President. The person that breaks this
regulation or proposes its amendment, as well as those who assist him
directly or indirectly, will cease immediately to hold their respective
offices, and will be disqualified for ten years from holding any public

ARTICLE 373. - The reform of this Constitution can be be decreed by the
National Congress, in ordinary session, by a vote of two thirds the
totality of its members. The decree must specify the article or articles
that are to be reformed, and must be ratified by the same majority [2/3]
in the subsequent ordinary legislature, so that it enters use. * Article
interpreted by Decree 169/1986[5]

ARTICLE 374.- It is not possible to reform, in any case, the preceeding
article, the present article, the constitutional articles referring to
the form of government, to the national territory, to the presidential
period, the prohibition to serve again as President of the Republic, the
citizen who has performed under any title in consequence of which she/he
cannot be President of the Republic in the subsequent period.[6]

>> And the Constitution is clear

> President Zelaya intended to perform a non-binding public
> consultation, about the conformation of an elected National
> Constituent Assembly.

> To do this, he invoked article 5 of the Honduran
> “Civil Participation Act” of 2006. According to this act, all public
> functionaries can perform non-binding public consultations to inquire
> what the population thinks about policy measures.

Ordinary laws can not over rule Constitutions.
I'm quitely sure that the laws let public functionaries to cunsult the
public about what policy measure they could choose, not policies they
are forbidden to choose or other public officials could choose.

For example, the President can not consult the public and ask if remove
or ignore the ART. 374 - 373 and 239 of the Constitution, because he
could not act on this.

> This act was
> approved by the National Congress and it was not contested by the
> Supreme Court of Justice, when it was published in the Official Paper
> of 2006. That is, until the president of the republic employed it in a
> manner that was not amicable to the interests of the members of these
> institutions.

Again, as I wrote before, I'm quitely sure the law have limits that are
inconvenient to this interpretation.

> Furthermore, the Honduran Constitution says nothing against the
> conformation of an elected National Constituent Assembly, with the
> mandate to draw up a completely new constitution, which the Honduran
> public would need to approve.

Given that the  Constitution give a way to change it and limits on how
change it, I would say that this is contestable.
Surely, the only body that could legally change the Constitution is the
If you read the articles 373 you could understand that only the
Parliament with a majority of 2/3 can change the Constitution (so this
rule out NCAs) and that only the successive Parliament can ratifie the

>> If GWB had forced a "consultive" not binding referendum to the US
>> people, against the Senate and the Congress will, against the ruling of
>> the Supreme Court, about "updating" the Constitution, you would be
>> screaming "coup".
> Nonsense!  I'm a big fan of referendums, plebiscites, polls,
> petitions, initiatives, and all manner of going to the people and
> asking them what they think.

> Such is my support for the people's right
> to participate directly, that when someone proffers a petition
> regarding some ballot initiative, I sign it without regard to the
> issue itself.  I say, "Let the people decide."  It's the American way.

Even if the count would be done by people you don't trust?
Even if the count would be done against the laws?
What if the count come up like the POTUS 2001 elections, where all was
decided by a few hundreds of votes in a few county in Florida hotly
contested by lawyers? Would you had accepted it?
Then, say, GWB had a third mandate.
You would accept it? How many would accept it?
How many would call it a coup and consider all the system illegitimate?

This for me is don't understanding what laws are and what messing with
them could do.


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