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U.S. Says It Will Recognize No Replacement for Honduran President Zelaya


The U.S. says Honduran President Manuel Zelaya is that country's only constitutional president, in response to the Honduran congress naming an acting president.

Lawmakers named their leader, Roberto Micheletti, to replace President Zelaya, who was ousted Sunday by the military. U.S. officials quickly responded that they will recognize no other president than Mr. Zelaya.

Mr. Zelaya has also said he will not recognize any government replacement and has pledged to serve out his term as president. Mr. Zelaya says he is a "victim of kidnapping" and a "coup d'etat."

Soldiers detained Mr. Zelaya and sent him to Costa Rica in the early-morning hours Sunday -- the day he set for a referendum on changing the constitution to allow him to run for another term.

The Honduran Supreme Court says it ordered the army to arrest President Zelaya because of his attempt to hold a vote on the referendum, which the court ruled as illegal.

Shortly after the his arrest, protesters calling the action a coup flocked to the presidential palace. Honduran troops surrounded the palace and blocked the entrances.

President Zelaya was holding the referendum in defiance of the Honduran Supreme Court, which declared the vote illegal. The Honduran military had refused to help organize the balloting. The president fired the armed forces chief of staff, General Romeo Vasquez, last week for failing to support him.

President Zelaya was elected in 2006 to a four-year term. The 1982 constitution bans re-election.

The Honduran president has the support of leftist Latin American leaders, including Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and Cuba's Fidel Castro.

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