According to experts, the legal status in El Salvador will be a “de facto state.”

According to experts, the legal status in El Salvador will be a “de facto state.”

Lawyers describe a rupture in the constitutional system that began with the dismissal of the judges of the Constitutional Chamber in May 2021, and worsened with the mandate for an immediate presidential re-election.

The authorization for Nayib Bukele to devote himself to his candidacy campaign and to leave the administration of executive power in the hands of someone from his trusted circle is the latest expression of the rupture of the constitutional system that El Salvador is experiencing, which experts describe as a “de facto state” or “de facto state.”

Allowing the path to immediate presidential re-election would not only be reflected by the acceptance of his nomination by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, but would come from a “technical coup” against the judiciary, specifically against the House of Representatives. Constitutional Court of the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ) for more than two years.

I think that El Salvador is experiencing a state of unconstitutionality, but sometimes we talk about de facto states, that is, states that do not act legally, but rather act arbitrarily. “So I think we are seeing this situation,” said Abraham Abrego, director of strategic litigation at Cristosal.

The last appointment without following a legal procedure was the appointment of the Private Secretary of the Presidency, Claudia Juana Rodriguez de Guevara, who was appointed and has assumed the presidency, at least in the administrative aspect, since last December 1, the date the license was granted. The period granted to Bukele begins.

Also: Specialists say Bukele’s license is intended to give the appearance of legitimacy for re-election

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“We are witnessing an irregular state, a de facto state that does not operate on the basis of the constitutional framework. He added: “This is the norm now.”

It also indicates that every unconstitutional act carried out by the ruling party generates another unconstitutional act that complicates the country’s legal situation.

“Illegal and unconstitutional laws must be abolished; they produce effects and become more complex,” he explained.

Lawyers criticize the actions of the Tokyo High Court in allowing Bukele’s candidacy to be registered for re-election. Photo EDH/Archive

As Eduardo Escobar, director of Acción Ciudadana, analyzed, there is a “state of truth” and not the rule of law. “We are in a de facto state, because when we talk about a state of rights, the law is the one that governs, the constitution is the one that governs, and due process is respected. But when we talk about a state, it is quite the opposite, everything is subject to the discretion of the ruler.”

This is also evident in the lack of a counterweight to power. He reiterated: “To this extent, the absence of the rule of law eliminates the existence of guarantees, eliminates the correct exercise of the right, and leaves everything at the expense of the arbitrariness of public authorities.”

Also: The presidency is in the hands of Bukele’s chief accounts officer

It asserts that the procedure for appointing the appointee, whether she was sworn in at the legislative plenary session or not, results from an unconstitutional and illegal act. He said: “From the root lies the poison. The fruit that this nomination could have and all the administrative implications of a specific appointment are poisonous and unconstitutional.”

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First breakup

For expert Cristosal, “the origin of the trick” is the dismissal of the judges of the Constitutional Chamber on May 1, 2021, as the first act of the Legislative Assembly with the majority of Nuevas’ ideas, and the subsequent appointment of new judges. Without respecting the procedure stipulated in the Constitution.

“Because fraud is conspiring there. The officials closest to the government are appointed, and then they make this decision.”

See: Opposition describes Bukele’s call to investigate officials as a campaign

Abrego explained that the formation of the government and the formation of the Legislative Assembly had been done legitimately. But it was the first act of the legislature that “began the break with the constitutional state” by abolishing the separation of powers.

Escobar shares a similar opinion, in the sense that all the procedures following the dismissal of the judges emphasize the “original vice”, namely the appointment of their replacements, the decision that “enables” the re-election, and the participation of the judges. Bukele in the internal elections of Nuevas Ideas, his registration as a candidate, the license to carry out propaganda and the appointment of the appointed person.

Image-JF-Oscar-Lopez-Jerez-CSJ-Ernesto-Cas-(3742841)
The current government does not have a counterweight to power, as it has chosen oversight institutions, such as the Supreme Court. Photo EDH/Archive

Candidacy registration

It was these imposed judges who in September 2021 issued a decision in the process of claiming loss of citizenship that gave a different interpretation of the ineligibility to run for the presidency and “enabled” Bukele to seek a second term.

But a year later, on September 15, 2022, Bukele announced that he would contest the 2024 elections to remain in office.

However, in Abrego’s view, another “breach” of the constitutional state was the statement issued by the Tokyo Stock Exchange on September 4, 2021 in which it announced that it would comply with the aforementioned decision, which occurred in a procedure for loss of nationality that has no obligation effects.

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“The Supreme Electoral Court should not comply in any way, even if the chamber’s decision violates precedent, the court had elements that said I would not comply with it; but this is when the separation happens.”

In fact, the arguments put forward by four royal judges to justify Bukele’s registration refer to the above decision.

But Escobar specified that the official party nomination would be “tainted” and not the presidential election process or the participation of other candidates.

Aygen Marsh

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