El Salvador: Concerns About Constitutional Reform

El Salvador: Concerns About Constitutional Reform

On Tuesday, constitutional reform in El Salvador is currently one of the main concerns of sectors opposed to President Nayib Bukele’s government, according to experts and politicians.

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Different analyses and opinions from experts and opponents indicate that the New Ideas (NI) party seeks to keep Bukele, who was re-elected in the last elections in violation of the Magna Carta, in power for ever, according to his opponents.

The issue of the reform is now the subject of friction as the legislature reaches its second ordinary session this week, when it must validate what was approved at the last meeting of the previous session, which supported by a majority a new norm that would allow the same forum to approve constitutional reforms.

Among the main critics is the former ambassador to the United States and the United Nations, Rubén Zamora, who said that «For Bukele, the Constitution is a hindrance, and he is eliminating it».

#ElSalvador

La reforma constitucional suscita angustia sobre la limitación de las oportunidades de participación pública

Surge la preocupación de que pueda causar modificaciones en la Carta Magna que menoscaben de los #ddhh en la legislación nacionalhttps://t.co/VLfpwQytCQ

— amnistia . org �� (@amnistia)
May 9, 2024

 The text reads,

Constitutional reform raises concerns about limited opportunities for public participation
Concern arises that it may cause changes in the Magna Carta that undermine human rights in national legislation
 

In an interview with the newspaper La Prensa Grafica (LPG), the ex-diplomat pointed out that the constitutional reform is to allow indefinite re-election.

The agreement to reform article 248 of the Constitution of the Republic, approved by the Legislative Assembly on 29 April, aims to establish the indefinite presidential re-election of Bukele, who was re-elected for a second term, contrary to the provisions of the Constitution, he said.

With this change, he said, the Assembly has given itself the power to make changes to the Constitution of the Republic in a single legislature: it will no longer be necessary to wait for the vote of a second Assembly to ratify constitutional reforms, and the vote of three quarters of the deputies will suffice to change the Constitution.

«This means, he pointed out, an imminent danger, we are facing the death of democracy», while he questioned the 54 deputies of New Ideas in the new legislature whether they will do «what the Constitution orders them to do» on 1 June, ignoring Bukele as president.

«I would like to ask the new deputies, what are they going to do with the obligation that the Constitution places on them not to accept even an hour or a day more of the person who wants to stay in government?

That means that what is going to come is a lot of reforms. The Constitution is being overthrown, it is no longer valid, that is the most serious thing: it is going to be like any secondary law that can be changed from one day to the next, according to the government’s wishes. This means an imminent danger, we are facing the death of democracy in the country, said Zamora.

This Wednesday, more than three quarters of the vote of New Ideas and allies are expected to give their backing to the change that adds new content to article 248 of the Magna Carta, which allows for its reform, something that, if consummated, will presumably reflect the will of the people who elected NI deputies over other political currents.

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