July 13, 2024

Party of El Salvador leader backs his quest for re-election

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El Salvador’s ruling party on Sunday gave the green light to President Nayib Bukele in his quest to seek re-election next year, as critics question the legality of a second consecutive term.

Bukele, 41, announced last September that he would seek another term in office after the Supreme Court allowed Bukele to seek re-election, sparking intense debate over its constitutionality.

The right-wing New Ideas (NI) party held an internal election with Bukele as the sole candidate.

New Ideas “make it official that the winner for the presidential candidacy… is Mr. Nayib Armando Bukele Ortez,” Karen Gonzalez, head of the electoral committee of the party, told reporters, without specifying how many votes Bukele obtained.

Salvadoran law requires political parties to hold internal elections to select their presidential candidates for 2024 elections.

Polls give a huge advantage to Bukele, whose war against violent street gangs has earned him an approval rating of more than 90 percent of the population, despite heavy criticism from human rights organizations.

The Salvadoran constitution imposes a single-term limits on candidates for presidential elections, barring anyone from running who “has served as President of the Republic for more than six months, consecutive or not” within the six months before the presidential period.

In 2021, Bukele’s administration replaced five Supreme Court judges and the attorney general — two institutions with which he had clashed — as well as a third of all the country’s judges.

The court then issued a resolution that allowed immediate presidential re-election, but critics believe the constitution prohibits that.

Rights groups, the United Nations, and the United States have all expressed alarm over arbitrary arrests, inhumane prison conditions and growing authoritarianism in El Salvador.

Other minority political parties planning to run in next year’s general elections have announced that they will hold their internal elections next week, ahead of general elections in February.

©️ Agence France-Presse

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