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Honduras

Government

Honduras was governed under the constitution of 1965 until 1972, when it was largely suspended after a coup d’etat. A new constitution was adopted in 1982 and amended in 1995.

Executive

Executive power in Honduras is vested in a president, who is elected by direct and universal vote for a four-year term. The president appoints a cabinet that assists in governing. A president can serve only one term.

Legislature

Legislative power in Honduras is vested in the unicameral Congress, the 128 members of which are popularly elected.

Political Parties

The two strongest political parties in Honduras are the conservative National Party and the slightly less conservative Liberal Party. The National Party has traditionally been aligned with the military and received its main support from poor rural areas of the south. The Liberal Party receives more of its support from urban areas. Smaller groups include the centrist Innovation and Unity Party and the Christian Democratic Party.

Local Government

Honduras is divided into 18 departments, which are subdivided into municipalities. Each department is administered by a governor appointed by the president. Municipalities are governed by elected councils.

Judiciary

The supreme court is composed of nine judges elected by Congress for four-year terms. The judiciary also includes courts of appeal and courts of original jurisdiction, such as labor, tax, and criminal courts.

Health and Welfare

In recent years public health services in Honduras have been made more accessible through an increase in mobile health units and through the development of community participation in health programs. Effective programs have resulted in malaria control, improved sewerage, and increased medical personnel. Malnutrition, inadequate housing, and infant diseases are still widespread. In 2008 the estimated life expectancy at birth was 71 years for women and 67.8 years for men; the infant mortality rate was 25 per 1,000 live births.

The constitution provides social security programs for workers and their families. Funds are collected from employers, employees, and the government. Only a small part of the labor force participates in the program.

Defense

The armed forces in 2004 numbered 12,000, comprising an army of 8,300, a navy of 1,400, and an air force of 2,300. As of 1994 military service was no longer mandatory.

 
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