The head of Honduras' Congress said Monday there is no guarantee lawmakers will vote on whether to restore ousted President Manuel Zelaya before the Nov. 29 election that will choose his successor.
Washington and the rest of the international community _ which cut off most foreign aid and diplomatic ties to Honduras after the June 28 coup _ are pushing for a swift solution and Zelaya's reinstatement. A U.S.-brokered pact calls on Congress to decide whether to return Zelaya to office with Supreme Court input, but imposes no deadline.
Congressional leader Jose Alfredo Saavedra said lawmakers are still awaiting an opinion from the Supreme Court on whether Zelaya should resume the presidency. He said he could not say how much longer the court will take.
"It's difficult to determine at this point because the accord proposes that we consult the honorable Supreme Court ... and we will wait for their opinion," Saavedra told the state television channel, TNH.
Honduran lawmakers, most of whom voted to back Zelaya's ouster, made clear they felt no sense of urgency.
A key Zelaya supporter said he had little hope for the ousted leader's restoration before the election. Carlos Reyes, an independent presidential candidate, withdrew from the race, saying taking part in a vote organized under interim President Roberto Micheletti would legitimize the coup.
"We won't legitimize a coup d'etat or the fraud that Mr. Micheletti is preparing," he said.
Reyes lagged in opinion polls behind the candidates of the National and Liberal parties _ Honduras two major parties. Two other candidates from small parties are also still in the race. Neither Zelaya or Micheletti are on the ballot.
Both Elvin Santos, of Zelaya and Micheletti's Liberal Party, and the National Party candidate, Porfirio Lobo, have urged Congress to make a decision soon on Zelaya.
"What needs to happen is for Congress to make a decision because there is no point in prolonging the crisis," Santos said.
Lobo, who is leading in most polls, said the 55 lawmakers from his party had yet to decide which way they will vote on Zelaya's reinstatement.
The United States would be in a difficult position if the election takes place without Zelaya in power. Washington initially joined other Western Hemisphere countries in warning that the elections would not be recognized if Zelaya is not restored beforehand.
U.S. diplomats have since indicated Washington would support the election as long as the pact is implemented. That agreement calls for a national unity government but does not require Zelaya's reinstatement, leaving the decision up to Congress.
The United States has found itself in the middle of an argument between Zelaya and Micheletti over whether the pact is being fulfilled.
Zelaya declared the accord dead last week after Micheletti announced a unity government had been created even though the ousted president had not submitted his own list of members. Micheletti insisted the pact has been fulfilled, saying Zelaya missed a deadline imposed by the agreement to submit a list of candidates.
Zelaya has accused Micheletti of delaying any solution until after the election. Zelaya's opponents say they worry he might seek to delay or thwart the election if restored to office.
Soldiers ousted Zelaya after he ignored a Supreme Court order to drop a referendum to ask Hondurans if they wanted an assembly to rewrite the constitution.
Opponents accused him of seeking to extend his time in office by lifting a ban on presidential re-election. Zelaya denies he intended to extend his term.