El Salvador: Bukele announces that he will go for re-election in 2024

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Riding the wave of popularity that he has gained for his fight against gangs, Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele surprised by announcing that he will seek re-election despite the fact that the constitution prohibits him.

Bukele made the announcement on September 15 during the celebration of a new anniversary of the Independence of the Central American country, a year after the magistrates of the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court -appointed by his allies in Congress- authorized him to register as a candidate in the 2024 elections.

Bukele – who assumed power on June 1, 2019 and maintains a high level of popularity that has not dropped below 80 percent – has already received the support of some sectors to seek re-election, while others maintain that the constitution prohibits re-election and they assure that the country is heading to become another Nicaragua.

Constitutionalist lawyers have said that the re-election violates at least four articles of the Magna Carta, including one that limits the presidential term to five years and establishes that the person who serves as president will not continue in office for another day.

“This constitutional breakdown was predictable. El Salvador has been on the road to being a dictatorship for a long time and many, due to ideological bias, cowardice, geopolitical interests or obsession with immigration, did not want to raise their voices in time or help prevent it,” Juan Pappier, of the Human Rights Watch Division, said on Twitter. of the Americas.

Deputy Dina Argueta, from the leftist Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN), said that the announcement “does not surprise us because it is something that they have been working on, they had yet to make it official. However, we must establish that our constitution does not allow re-election at any time.”

But the vice president and lawyer Félix Ulloa assured that “of course it is not unconstitutional. If one of the things that has worried me all my life has been to respect the democratic and constitutional State of law.

He explained that Bukele, in his capacity as president, is in no way disqualified from standing as a candidate in the next elections because the prohibition is based on two facts: that he has held the presidency in the immediately preceding term, that is, in the period of Salvador Sánchez Cerén (2014-2019) and that he exercise the presidency for six months in the immediate next period, that is, that he be exercising the presidency six months before June 1.

The levels of acceptance of Bukele increased with the fight against the gangs and according to recent opinion polls, 95% of the population is in favor of the security measures.

The first to express its support was the conservative Great Alliance for National Unity (GANA) party, for which it ran in the 2019 elections, while the right-wing Alianza Republicana Nacionalista (Arena) – which governed the country from 1989 to 2019 – expressed his rejection and stated that “today he took off his mask and revealed his true intention, to postpone himself in power.”

Bukele’s announcement immediately flooded social networks with a wave of reactions from the president’s supporters congratulating him, while analysts criticized the decision and opponents expressed their resounding rejection.

Lawyer Eduardo Escobar, from the non-governmental organization Acción Ciudadana, assured that “it is prohibited in the constitution. (Bukele) does not have the right to be re-elected, that is the rule, if he does so it is contrary to the constitution and brings us closer to Nicaragua, as simple as that.”

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