March 6, 2016 / 9:59 PM / 2 years ago

Honduras governing party proposes president for re-election

TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) - Honduras’ governing party on Sunday proposed the sitting president as their candidate for 2017 elections, a decision likely to stir fresh debate over re-election, a contentious issue at the heart of a coup just six years ago.

Though President Juan Hernandez, of the conservative National Party, has not yet confirmed whether he will run again, and any decision would have to be ratified in a party vote, he has the backing of the party leadership and, as yet, no credible opponent.

Last April, the country’s Supreme Court struck down a law that banned presidents from seeking a second term. Opposition leaders have said they would challenge that ruling.

Since taking office in 2014, Hernandez’ ramped-up military offense against drug traffickers and gangs has driven down the homicide rate. Allegations of abuses by soldiers, however, have also risen since the military was first deployed under his predecessor in 2012.

The fight over presidential re-election led to a bitter political stand-off which ended in a coup against former President Manuel Zelaya in 2009.

Honduras is set to hold a general election in late 2017.

Reporting by Gustavo Palencia; Writing by Christine Murray; Editing by Sandra Maler

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