Top Honduran court paves way for presidents to seek re-election

Honduras' President Juan Orlando Hernandez participates in a joint news conference with his Salvadoran counterpart Salvador Sanchez Ceren (not pictured) at the Presidential House in San Salvador February 10, 2015. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas

TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) - The Supreme Court of Honduras on Thursday struck down a law that banned presidents from seeking a second term, paving the way for their re-election, a contentious issue at the heart of a coup six years ago.

The decision would allow President Juan Orlando Hernandez to extend his rule, a prospect that opposition parties say is being pushed by ruling National Party leaders.

The unanimous decision from the five-member court was applauded by former President Rafael Callejas, a 71-year-old member of the ruling party who has said he would like to run again.

The fight over presidential reelection led to a bitter political stand-off that ended in a coup against former President Manuel Zelaya in 2009.

Hernandez, who was elected in 2013, has not said whether or not he would like to seek a second four-year term in 2017.

Reporting by Gustavo Palencia; Writing by David Alire Garcia; Editing by Simon Gardner and Grant McCool