Bukele aspires to sweep El Salvador's elections by flouting the constitution

Bukele aspires to sweep El Salvador's elections by flouting the constitution

San Salvador, El Salvador)Dozens of heavily armed soldiers deployed in the streets of El Salvador, on the occasion of the elections scheduled for Sunday, in which Nayib Bukele aspires for a second term, mocking the constitution. The army and police have been the pillars on which he has relied in his own “war on the gangs”, for which Congress in March 2022 approved an emergency regime that extends month-by-month, curtailing the freedoms of the population. His security policy has led to the arrest of 75,000 people, and despite reports of human rights violations by national and international bodies, Bukele has remained steadfast in his security policy.

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Since coming to power in 2019, he has promised that his goal is to end the gangs that have caused thousands of deaths over the past 30 years. He launched a territorial control plan, through which he came to surround entire cities with thousands of soldiers and police in search of… Gang members. He also posted on social media videos of El Salvador's prisons showing members of these criminal gangs almost naked and lying on the ground, while he boasted that days had not witnessed any murders, and that he had turned the country into “the safest in Latin America.”

In this context, all opinion polls indicate that Bukele will sweep the elections and there will not even be a need for a second round, because the opposition candidates combined barely reach 12% of the voting intention, compared to 82% for Bukele. Behind him, who is in a better position, is the candidate of the leftist Farabundo Martí National Liberation Party, Manuel. Chinese Flores, despite receiving barely 4.2% support, according to a poll by Universidad Central America José Simeon Cañas, published on January 18. This formation, which was born from Salvadoran revolutionaries, diminished over the years, especially due to the corruption cases that affected the presidents of the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front, Mauricio Funes (2009-2014) and Salvador Sánchez Cerén (2014-2019), who obtained asylum in Nicaragua to escape justice.

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The candidate of the right-wing Alianca Republicana Nacionalista party, Joel Sanchez, also has no chance of winning the presidency, as his voting intention is only 3.4%. Arena also suffered from corruption problems from the last president of this party in El Salvador, Antonio Saca (2004-2009), who is in prison, after he was sentenced in 2018 to 10 years in prison on charges of embezzlement and money laundering. More than $300 million from the public treasury.

The end of bipartisanship

Specifically, the FMLN and ARENA alternated in power in El Salvador from 1989 until June 2019, although Bukele's victory that year with the conservative Grand Alliance for National Unity (GANA) managed to break the party partnership for the first time. , after receiving approximately 54% of the votes. Votes.

The rest of the candidates in the electoral competition will receive the remaining support, according to the aforementioned poll: Luis Parada (Nostro Tempo) by 2.5%, while José Renderos (Solidarity Party) and Marina Murillo (Fratrindad Patriotica Salvadorena Party) will monopolize the electoral district. 1 each. Expectations also indicate a clear victory for Bukele's “New Ideas” party in the congressional elections, winning 57 seats out of 60, achieving absolute control over the Legislative Assembly, where there are 11 formations aspiring to obtain a seat.

Despite his expected victory, Bukele warned on the social media network GangstersHe warned that the opposition could achieve its “true and only plan: releasing Assad.” Gang members […] To return to power.”

The Constitution prohibits re-election

Bukele had to leave the presidency to seek re-election, which is why the Legislative Assembly granted him a six-month leave of absence on 30 November. In the same month, the Supreme Electoral Court approved the presidential formula for the New Ideas Party, even though the constitution prohibits successive re-elections.

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Article 154 stipulates that the duration of the presidential term is five years, “without the person assuming the presidency being able to continue his duties even for one additional day.” There is another article that prohibits a second term, which is Article 152, which stipulates that “it is not permissible for a candidate for the Republic to hold the presidency for a period exceeding six months, continuous or not, during the previous period or during the six months preceding the ‘beginning’ of the presidential term.”

But all this did not prevent Bukele from continuing with the road map he set, after the Constitutional Chamber issued a decision on September 3, 2021 allowing him to be re-elected. Bukele is here to stay, supported by the majority of the population and facing a very weak opposition that lost control of the country five years ago.

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