Honduras, National Party (PNH)

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Honduras, National Party (PNH)

The National Party of Honduras emerged in the early twentieth century as the principal opposition to the Liberal Party, which had dominated the country since the 1870s. Made up of both disgruntled Liberals and former Conservative Party members, it formally organized in 1916 under the leadership of Francisco Bertrand, although it did not become a cohesive organization until Tiburcio Carías Andino took over its leadership in the 1920s. Despite lip service to nationalism, the party became closely allied to the U.S.-owned United Fruit Company. Carías failed in efforts to unseat the Liberals in 1923 and 1928. However, he finally won the election of 1932 and ruled Honduras from 1933 to 1948, firmly establishing the National Party in Honduran politics.

Ideologically, the party was much influenced in its formative years by Dr. Paulino Valladares and has tended to be somewhat to the right of the Liberal Party. Personalism, however, has always been more important than ideology in the party. In the post-Carías period, the party developed close ties with the Honduran army, although not to the exclusion of the Liberal influence there. The Liberals ended the long National Party rule in 1957. Beginning in 1956, however, the army established itself as the principal political power in the country, and in 1963 it restored the National Party to power. Since then the National and Liberal parties have often joined in unity pacts to share power.

Civilian government was restored in 1981. The National Party, led by Rafael Leonardo Callejas, lost to the Liberals that year and again in 1985. But in 1990 Callejas returned to power on a strongly neoliberal economic platform. Deteriorating economic conditions, however, led to another Liberal victory in the 1993 presidential election. The party has continued to be a strong presence in Honduras winning the presidency in 2001 and coming in a close second in the 2005 presidential elections.

See alsoBertrand, Francisco; Callejas Romero, Rafael Leonardo; Carías Andino, Tiburcio.


James D. Rudolph, ed., Honduras, a Country Study, 2d ed. (1983).

Alison Acker, Honduras: The Making of a Banana Republic (1988).

James Dunkerley, Power in the Isthmus: A Political History of Modern Central America (1988).

Tom Barry and Kent Norsworthy, Honduras: A Country Guide (1990).

Additional Bibliography

Dodd, Thomas J. Tiburcio Carías: Portrait of a Honduran Political Leader. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2005.

Meza, Víctor, Leticia Salomón, and Mirna Flores. Democracia y partidos políticos en Honduras. Tegucigalpa: Centro de Documentación de Honduras, 2004.

Sierra Fonseca, Rolando. Colonia, independencia y reforma: Introducción a la historiografía hondureña (1876–2000). Tegucigalpa: Universidad Pedagógica Nacional Francisco Morazán, Fondo Editorial, 2001.

                                Ralph Lee Woodward Jr.