Under the prodding of U.S. diplomats, political leaders in Honduras have come up with a creative, albeit complicated, solution to help the country emerge from the paralyzing crisis arising from the ouster of President Manuel Zelaya on June 28.
The plan was agreed to last week by supporters of Mr. Zelaya and the head of the de facto government, Roberto Micheletti, with a powerful nudge from a U.S. delegation led by Tom Shannon, assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs. It requires the Honduran Congress -- with the advice of the Supreme Court -- to ratify an agreement that allows Mr. Zelaya to finish the last few months of his tenure as part of a national unity government, under close monitoring to prevent him from overstepping his authority.
Keeping Mr. Zelaya on a tight leash makes sense. If he had not tried to hold a referendum that was widely interpreted as an attempt to get around the constitutional ban on running for a second term, none of this would have been necessary. The mistake -- belatedly acknowledged by the military and other opponents of the president -- was to kick him out of the country right after placing him under arrest, instead of giving him due process by bringing him before an impartial tribunal to answer charges.
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