Thursday, March 29, 2012

Meeting a Honduran presidential candidate

We met our first Honduran campaigning politician on the weekend, likely the first of many given the nature of the process here.
He was Miguel Pastor, the guy in the picture above. (Though that's not Copan.)
We were heading to the square and he was walking along in front of a jeep with a bunch of followers. You could tell right away he was a politician - there is now a common look of big, healthy guys with nice haircuts and studiedly casual clothes. (Pastor and his guys had on blue-checked long-sleeved shirts, despite the heat. Blue is the National party colour.) There was even a younger guy who reminded me of Dave Basi walking along behind, whispering instructions to others in the group. (The candidates are still mostly guys, though Xiomara Zelaya, the wife of ex-president Manuel Zelaya who was deposed in the 2009 coup, is running for the new Libre Party.)
I thought it was a candidate for mayor, but people were taking pictures, which seemed over-the-top for a small-town mayor. So we concluded that it was someone bigger, though it took until the paper Monday reported that Pastor been on a weekend tour of the region that we figured out who he was.
Pastor quickly pegged me as a gringo and shifted his attention. But given Jody's tan and multi-ethnic look, he clapped her on the shoulder and gave her the full politician smile.
The next election isn't until November 2013. But the two main parties have member votes to chose their presidential candidates this fall, and that involves a long process that resembles a full election campaign.
Several people have characterized the political calendar in the same way. The president and Congress are elected to four-year terms. It's always a new president, because there's a one-term limit to avoid the rise of dictators.
The first year is spent complaining about the mess left by the old guys; the second year on announcing plans, followed by some ritual firings of ministers; the third and fourth years are devoted to campaigning for the next leadership races and the next election.
It doesn't leave much time for governing.
But then the BC Liberals launched their attack ads on John Cummins 20 months before the next election, and the first Dix ads even before that. The federal Conservatives have launched attack ads on Bob Rae already, with the next election likely three years away. That doesn't leave much time for governing either. (Which seems a serious error the BC Liberals are making, one that rates a separate post.)
I have no idea what the issues are here. The candidates all talk about corruption and crime, but it's pretty fuzzy so far, at least to me.
But they've got the politician style down cold.


Mr. Beer N. Hockey said...

A one term limit for political leaders is an appealing institution.

Anonymous said...

jaja my wife was one of the followers .looked like he arrived in a helicopter .miguel is promising her a job for 4 years if he gets in but i know thats most likely bs.