Latin American Weekly Report

09/09/2021 - Bukele sweeps aside final obstacle to indefinite rule in El Salvador

“The dictatorship is consummated”. This was the response by Oscar Ortiz, the secretary general of El Salvador’s left-wing opposition Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional (FMLN), to a 3 September ruling by the constitutional chamber (SC) of the supreme court (CSJ) lifting the ban on consecutive presidential re-election. President Nayib Bukele, who took office in June 2019, will now be able to seek a further term in 2024. The decision is the latest outcome of the assumption in May of a new legislature controlled by Bukele’s Nuevas Ideas (NI), which swiftly dismissed the previous SC. No other constitution in the region is quite so emphatic in barring presidential re-election, but the SC got around this by questioning the validity of the constitution itself. The supreme electoral court (TSE) upheld the SC’s ruling and Bukele’s power grab was complete.

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