By a large majority (110 votes to 128), the Honduran Congress approved the modification of three articles of the country’s constitution, giving powers to Congress to create areas subject to special arrangements, referred to as "Model Cities" that were declared unconstitutional last October for being considered "states within a state."
Laprensa.hn reports that "The law consists of two approved articles. The first amending Articles 294, 303 and 329 of Decree 131 of January 11, 1982 containing the Constitution, which divided the country into departments. These 'are divided into autonomous municipalities administered by corporations elected by the people, in accordance with the law'.
Without prejudice to the provisions of the preceding two paragraphs, Congress can create areas under special schemes in accordance with Article 329 of this Constitution '.
The reforms also include the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court when it has to do with Article 303, which says: 'The power to dispense justice emanates from the people and is administered on behalf of the State free of charge, by judges and independent judges, subject only to the Constitution and laws '. It goes on to say:' the judiciary is comprised of a Supreme Court of Justice, the Court of Appeals, the Courts, by tribunals with exclusive jurisdiction of the country in areas subject to special regulations established under to the Constitution, and other entities established by law '.
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Under the name of Special Development Regions (Regiones Especiales de Desarrollo or RED in Spanish) the National Congress of Honduras is debating a new version of the law that creates these special cities.
The bill, which sets out reforms to articles 294, 303 and 329 of the Constitution, was introduced by government minister Rodolfo Irias Navas.
The Government of Honduras announced an aggressive plan for legal reform and a campaign to promote the country as an investment destination.
With the launch of web portal "Honduras is open for business" and a video of a speech by President Porfirio Lobo the Honduran Government announced the National Investment Promotion program 2010-2014, named "The high point of a deep institutional and legal reform to position Honduras as the most attractive investment destination in Latin America.”
A constitutional statue law on the Special Development Regions (RED’s by Spanish initials) has been approved in the first debate in Congress.
The new law defines RED’s as autonomous cities, which will be led by an "executive governor", a "policy board" and a "constitutional council".
With support from most of the 128 deputies from five political parties, Congress approved the project submitted by the Executive branch.
The decree will allow construction of the first Model City, to be built on the Honduran Atlantic area, becoming a legal entity in itself and with its own administration system.