Honduras is preparing for a return to a civilian government after ten years of military rule.
SV General Policarpo Paz Garcia shaking hands with President of Assembly Roberto Suazo Cordova on arrival in assembly hall dais
SV Assembly members seated
GV Junta members left to right seated - Colonel Amilcar Zelaya, Colonel Domingo Alvarez and Paz Garcia
CU Paz Garcia
CU Domingo Alvarez
CU Amilcar Zelaya
SV Paz Garcia singing "act"
MV Alvarez signing 'act'
CU Archbishop of Honduras speaking
CU General Policarpo Paz Garcia speaking
CU President of Assembly Suazo Cordova speaking
SV PAN People in street carrying Liberal flags look on as flag is carried in street (3 shots)
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Background: Honduras is preparing for a return to a civilian government after ten years of military rule. The newly elected constitutional assembly met in the capital Tegucigalpa for the first time on Sunday (20 July).
SYNOPSIS: The decisive victory of Honduras' Liberal Party in last April's election surprised party members almost as much as it did the country's military leaders.
The elections for the constituent assembly were judged "exceptionally clean". A contributing tactor being intense pressure by the United States on General Paz Garcia, Junta member and chief of the Honduran armed forces.
The United States is also believed to have pressured General Paz into holding the poll for the assembly only ... with a president chosen in a later election. With the junta and it is ultra-conservative National Party expected to sweep the elections, the U.S. wanted to avoid a nationalist victory leading to the immediate appointment of a nationalist president.
Ironically, with the way the vote turned out, it is now the Liberal leader, Roberto Siles Cordova, who must wait to occupy the presidential palace. In the meantime, the constituent assembly will draw up a new constitution. Assembly members have decided to keep General Paz Garcia as caretaker Head of State. He will serve a one-year, interim term and has agreed to include civilian political party representatives in his reshuffled cabinet. Presidential elections will be held after the final draft of the new constitution is completed...expected some time next year.