18 September 1998
Honduran president proposes abolishing top military post

                  TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) -- Honduras President Carlos Flores
                  Facusse has proposed abolishing the nation's top military post, saying it
                  would "strengthen civilian power" in a country long run by soldiers.

                  Congress began debating the measure to amend the constitution after the
                  president's announcement.

                  The army has toppled civilian presidents three times. But its political power,
                  and troop force, has gradually eroded under a series of civilian presidents
                  since 1981.

                  The current armed forces chief, Gen. Mario Hung Pacheco, is due to retire
                  in January. He said the military agreed with the measure.

                  The position would be replaced by a strengthened minister of defense, a
                  post that until now has been overshadowed by the military leader.

                  Copyright 1998   The Associated Press.