Zelaya calls for end to ruling elite in Honduras

AP News
Posted: Jun 26, 2011 10:21 PM
Zelaya calls for end to ruling elite in Honduras

Ex-Honduran President Manuel Zelaya predicted Sunday that his supporters will win power from the Central American country's long-ruling elite.

In his first major public appearance since returning from exile, he told representatives of the National Popular Resistance Front that the wealthy have held the reins of power long enough.

"The oligarchy has shown that it doesn't want democracy and is willing to use force to keep their privileges," said Zelaya, who was ousted in June 2009 by a military coup that was backed by Honduras' mainstream parties, including his own.

Zelaya, the son of a wealthy timber and ranching family who took a populist tone after becoming president, predicted the "liberal-socialism" agenda he espouses will drive the elite from power and govern Honduras for 50 years.

The former leader also repeated his call for Honduras to hold an assembly to rewrite the constitution. His effort as president to stage a national referendum on whether to call such an assembly led to the coup.

After his speech, the 1,600 delegates at the gathering agreed the National Popular Resistance Front should pursue legal recognition as a political party so it can compete in the 2014 elections. It needs to collect 46,000 petition signatures.

The movement, which includes political activists, workers and farmers, formed after Zelaya was removed from power.