The cathedral in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. The next elections in Honduras are due in November 2021. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Stefan Zeugner (public domain)
Freedom House Rating
November 2021 (due – primaries scheduled for March 14, 2021)
November 26, 2017
Honduras is due to hold general elections in November 2021. Voters will elect the president and legislature, as well as mayors and members of the Central American Parliament. Primaries are scheduled for March 14, 2021.
Honduras’s upcoming elections are taking place in the context of polarization and a crisis of legitimacy sparked in part by increasing authoritarianism.
For background: Honduras began its transition to democracy in the 1980s, following the end of military rule in 1982. For most of that time, there were two dominant political parties: the center-right National Party and the center-left Liberal Party. The parties alternated stints in power.
In 2005, José Manuel “Mel” Zelaya of the Liberal Party won the presidency. However, in office, Zelaya shifted toward the left. For example, under his rule, Honduras joined the Hugo Chávez-founded Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) alliance of socialist governments (although it has subsequently left).
Zelaya sought to run for a second term in the 2009 elections – something that was not at the time permitted under Honduran law. Consequently, the Honduran military removed Zelaya from office on an arrest warrant from the Supreme Court, an action many have characterized as a coup.
After that, the country held elections as scheduled in 2009, which the National Party’s candidate, Porfirio “Pepe” Lobo Sosa, won decisively. In addition, the Liberal Party lost a lot of seats in the legislature. While some alleged vote fraud, international observers found the elections to be mostly credible.
Subsequently, the Liberal Party – Honduras’s oldest, founded in 1891 – split. Zelaya’s leftist followers broke off and formed the left-wing Libertad y Refundación (Liberty and Refoundation – commonly called LIBRE) party, and the remaining Liberals returned to their center-left roots.
The National Party has won the last several sets of presidential elections. The current president, Juan Orlando Hernández, defeated Zelaya’s wife, Xiomara Castro, in the 2013 election. His bid for re-election in 2017 sparked a political crisis.
The 2021 Elections in Honduras
The 2021 elections in Honduras are taking place in the context of polarization. The National Party is likely to be united, while the opposition is currently fragmented. However, there have been protests – some violent – calling for Hernández’s removal.
Curated News and Analysis
Ricardo González, Washington Post (May 9, 2019): The democratic crisis in Honduras has reached a boiling point
Charles T. Call, Brookings Institution (December 4, 2017): What Honduras’ election crisis reveals about Latin America’s broader democracy challenges
21votes does not necessarily agree with all of the opinions expressed in the linked articles; rather, our goal is to curate a wide range of voices. Furthermore, none of the individuals or organizations referenced have reviewed 21votes’ content. That is to say, their inclusion should not be taken to imply that they endorse us in any way. More on our approach here.
Updated October 25, 2020