Criticism of El Salvador for approving reelection is “rained down”

Nayib Bukele Reelection El Salvador

The decision of the Constitutional Chamber that gives the green light in El Salvador to re-election is not welcomed by criticism this Saturday (09.04.2021) by international organizations and even a congressman from the United States.

The director for the Americas of Human Rights Watch (HRW), José Miguel Vivanco, said this Saturday that “democracy in El Salvador is on the brink of the abyss” after the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ) endorse the possibility of the presidential reelection of Nayib Bukele.

“The Constitutional Chamber of El Salvador, which Bukele cooperated in May this year, has just allowed Bukele to run for reelection,” Vivanco posted on Twitter. 

He added that, in his opinion, it is “the same script used by Daniel Ortega (Nicaragua) and Juan Orlando Hernández (Honduras)” to be reelected.

He added that “many of us have been warning for more than a year about the risks to the rule of law in El Salvador” and regretted that the Secretary General of the OAS, Luis Almagro, dismissed these alerts, while labeling those who issued them as being “recurrently hysterical voices”.

He shared a video with Almagro’s statements from 2020 and added that “now it is too late.”

On Friday night, the magistrates of the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice, appointed on May 1, reversed a 2014 ruling and enabled immediate presidential re-election.

In the resolution, the magistrates order the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) to allow “a person who exercises the Presidency of the Republic and has not been president in the immediately preceding period to participate in the electoral contest for a second time.” 

They speak out against it at the national level

The judicial decision opens the way for President Nayib Bukele to seek re-election in 2024 because with the interpretation that was given in 2014 to paragraph 1 of Article 152 of the Constitution, he had to wait until 2034.

In the judgment of the magistrates, the interpretation of 2014 is “wrong” and they pointed out that the Constitution allows a citizen to be president for a maximum of 10 years.

In addition to HWR, various Salvadoran lawyers and US Congressman Albio Sires spoke, who said on Twitter that he is “extremely concerned about the interpretation of the constitutional chamber in El Salvador that allows re-election, even if it is prohibited by the Constitution.” 

For its part, the United States government condemned the resolution of the Supreme Court of Justice of El Salvador, because it considers it contrary to the Constitution of that Central American country.

“The United States condemns the decision taken on September 3 by the Salvadoran Constitutional Chamber,” Jean Manes, the charge d’affaires of the North American nation in San Salvador, said in a brief press conference.

For her part, the director for the Americas of Amnesty International (AI), Erika Guevara-Rosas, indicated that they are observing El Salvador to “denounce practices that violate” human rights and warned about the dismantling of the institutions.

“In the world, we are facing authoritarian governments that dismantle institutions to violate human rights. It is demonstrated that El Salvador will not be the exception,” Guevara-Rosas posted on Twitter.

He added that at Amnesty International “we have eyes on El Salvador to denounce the violation of human rights practices of the government of Nayib Bukele”

The president, who won the 2019 presidential elections in the first round and with a wide advantage, has not said whether he will seek re-election, a possibility that his officials and pro-government deputies applaud and encourage on social networks.