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Friday, September 30, 2022

El Salvador’s Bukele Says He Will Seek Reelection Despite Ban

20220925 173828
20220925 173828

Experts say President Nayib Bukele’s move would violate at least four articles of El Salvador’s constitution.

El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele has said he plans to seek a second five-year term in office, even though the country’s constitution prohibits presidents from serving consecutive terms.

“I am announcing to the Salvadoran people that I have decided to run as a candidate for president of the republic,” Bukele said Thursday night in an Independence Day speech broadcast live on public television and social media. Bukele’s current term will end in 2024.

“Developed countries have reelection,” he said. “And thanks to the new configuration of the democratic institution of our country, now El Salvador will too.”

The announcement came a year after the country’s new Supreme Court justices, appointed by lawmakers aligned with Bukele, ruled that presidents can seek a second consecutive term despite a constitutional ban.

Constitutional lawyers have said that allowing presidents to seek re-election would violate at least four articles of the constitution, including one that limits presidential terms to five years and states that the person serving as president will not continue in office for one day. plus.

The ruling by the highest court in September last year drew widespread condemnation and raised fears of a return to authoritarianism in El Salvador.

The US State Department also criticized the decision as one that “undermines democracy,” warning that a “decline in democratic governance harms” the US relationship with the Central American country.

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Bukele has enjoyed high approval ratings since taking office in 2019. According to a poll conducted last month by CID Gallup, 85 percent of people approve of his presidency, while 95 percent are happy with his handling of security issues by your government.

But the president has faced mounting criticism from human rights groups and foreign governments over his concentration of power.

“This constitutional breakdown was predictable,” wrote Juan Papier, researcher for the Americas at Human Rights Watch (HRW), in a cheep Thursday.

“El Salvador has been on the way to becoming a dictatorship for a long time and many, due to ideological biases, cowardice, geopolitical interests or obsession with immigration, did not want to raise their voices in time or help prevent it,” he said.

el salvador flag
A person waves a flag during an anti-government march on Independence Day in San Salvador, El Salvador. [Salvador Melendez/AP Photo]

Bukele, who has adopted Bitcoin as legal tender, has in recent months led a crackdown on gangs, using emergency powers that Congress extended for the sixth time on Wednesday.

Rights groups say many innocent people have been arrested without cause and have documented a range of abuses, including deaths in custody and civil rights violations under the state of emergency.

In August, El Salvador’s police chief announced that more than 50,000 people had been detained during the crackdown.

“Some in the international community … criticize the capture of gang members, as if they want us to be bad again,” Bukele said Thursday. “This is the only road for El Salvador. We already tried it; this is not a campaign promise.”

In a June report, HRW said “serious human rights violations had been committed, including arbitrary arrests apparently based on people’s appearance and social origin, as well as short-term enforced disappearances.”

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The report also found that the Bukele government had significantly weakened democratic institutions in El Salvador, allowing his administration to operate with few checks on its executive branch.

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