Bukele’s re-election, between accusations of illegality and totalitarian coup

The announcement of the president of El Salvador, Nayib Bukeleabout what He will seek immediate re-election in the 2024 elections. met this friday signs of illegality and with him support of the vice-president, Félix Ulloawho in a draft constitutional reform has proposed to ban it.

The possibility of Bukele being re-elected for a second consecutive term was opened last September, when a disputed Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice modified a criterion on the subject.

Before this resolution, whoever held the Presidency had to wait 10 years after the end of his term.

Now, Bukele is the first president of the Salvadoran democratic stage who will try to be re-electedgiven that this situation had not occurred since the time of the military dictatorship.

THE “VIOLENT” ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE CONSTITUTION

The Chilean lawyer Jose Miguel Vivancoformer director of the Americas Division of Human Rights Watch (HRW), showed, through his official Twitter account, his dissatisfaction with Bukele’s announcement.

“Absolutely predictable. That was always the original plan. Today a new Chavez arises”is read in the message of the human rights defender next to the video where the Salvadoran president communicates his decision to the applause of his followers.

For Celia Medranoformer candidate for the Executive Secretariat of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), the announcement is not a surprise and warns that It goes against the provisions of the Constitution.

“It is not a surprise. Violating the constitutional limitations has been the daily practice of the power groups that control CAPRES (Presidential House)”said to Eph in reaction to the ad.

He pointed out that Bukele’s irruption to Congress with military and armed soldiers in February 2020, known as the 9Fand the dismissal of constitutional judges in a widely criticized process in 2021 “They have prepared the way for re-election.”

In Medrano’s opinion, there is a “total control of the entire state”so that “A discussion is useless if the unconstitutionality of reelection is supported by the population or not.”

“With the consolidation of all control, it matters little if popularity levels would drop or not,” he stressed.

He recalled that the articles of the Constitution that establish alternation in power and that the presidential term establishes that a president cannot continue “not one more day” after serving 5 years.

ENABLING WITHOUT “LEGITIMACY”

In the opinion of Jonathan Siscoa lawyer for the humanitarian organization Cristosal, the judges who issued the ruling that opens the possibility of immediate re-election they are de facto and do not have “democratic legitimacy of origin or exercise, so it has no legal value.”

After the ruling that enables re-election was made known, different voices questioned its legality, including the United States condemned it and pointed out to the judges that they were “loyal to the Executive branch.”

“The Constitution is so clear in the prohibition of immediate re-election that the mere fact of promoting re-election is even penalized with the loss of citizenship rights.“, he indicated.

For Sisco, the magistrates who modified the criteria for reelection acted “outside the framework of their constitutional powers”.

He explained that the ruling was issued in a process unrelated to this controversy, since it was a case in which the “loss of citizenship” was requested and not a ruling on re-election.

The magistrates decreed that the prohibition of reelection is for those who have exercised the Presidency for two consecutive periods.

On the other hand, Sisco indicated that if Bukele registers as a candidate in the Supreme Electoral Tribunal “He is obliged to disqualify the president because a cause of disqualification weighs on him.”

COUNTRY RISK PROFILE WOULD GO UP

For the Salvadoran economist from the Central American Institute for Fiscal Studies (Icefi) Ricardo CastanedaBukele’s announcement “generate greater uncertaintybecause there is a breaking of the rules of the game and this, obviously, worries investors”.

“Investors will ask themselves: What guarantees do I have of going to invest in a country if at a given moment they can also break the rules of the game for me if the president himself is doing it?” Eph.

In addition, he pointed out that the decision to seek re-election “is announced the same day that Fitch (Fitch Ratings) lowers the risk ratingand that risk rating basically places El Salvador with a high probability of default.

The risk measurement agency Fitch Ratings reported on Thursday that it downgraded El Salvador’s long-term foreign currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) and noted that the liquidity situation is “serious” before the payment of Eurobonds in January 2023.

“The announcement can cause the country’s risk profile to remain extremely high and (there are) limitations in (the) access to financing and this, obviously, can have implications not only for the Government, but also for citizens,” the economist explained.

Castaneda added that “a political crisis, of democracy, sooner or later results in an economic crisis and the economic and financial situation of the country is already delicate and with this type of ad the situation can become much more complex“.

THE VICE PRESIDENT SUPPORTS BUKELE

The vice president, Felix Ulloaapplauded this Friday during a television interview Bukele’s decision and said that the arguments against “They have no constitutional basis.”

“There is no prohibition so that President Nayib Bukele can register as a candidate,” he added and indicated that six months before June 1, 2024 “he has to stop exercising the Presidency,” as established by the Constitutional Chamber.

Ulloa described “erroneous” and “biased” the interpretation of the magistrates that indicated the prohibition of the immediate re-election of 2014.

The Salvadoran vice president was appointed by Bukele to prepare a Constitutional reform and the bill establishes that a president must wait 5 years to seek the position again.

Before becoming president, Bukele affirmed that “In El Salvador the same person cannot be president twice in a row.”

After reaching the Salvadoran Presidency in 2019, Bukele described Juan Orlando Hernández and Daniel Ortega as “dictators”, who were able to be re-elected in Honduras and Nicaragua, respectively, thanks to resolutions of constitutional courts.

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