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Honduran Prez overthrown in coup

world Updated: Jun 29, 2009 10:47 IST

Honduran troops ousted President Manuel Zelaya and flew him out of the country, ending a bitter power struggle with the military as parliament swiftly voted in a new leader.

Zelaya insisted as he arrived in regional neighbor Costa Rica that he remained the president of his Central American nation, but just hours later the Congress voted in the parliamentary speaker as the country’s new leader, on Sunday.

The first such major upheaval in several decades in the impoverished country was triggered by a tense political standoff between Zelaya and the country’s military and legal institutions over his bid to secure a second term.

“I will never give up since I was elected the president by the people,” Zelaya said from San Jose, accusing Honduran troops of kidnapping and denouncing what he called a “political conspiracy” against him.

But Congress said it voted unanimously to remove him from office for his “apparent misconduct” and for “repeated violations of the constitution and the law and disregard of orders and judgments of the institutions.”

In his place they appointed speaker Roberto Micheletti as the new leader to serve out the rest of the term of office, which ends in January.

New general elections are planned for November 29.

Zelaya, elected to a non-renewal four-year term in 2005, had planned a vote on Sunday asking Hondurans to sanction a future referendum to allow him to run for reelection in the November polls.