President Nayib Bukele Seeks Re-election
El Salvador’s President, Nayib Bukele, has formally submitted his candidacy for re-election in the upcoming 2024 polls, a move that has generated criticism for its alleged violation of the country’s constitution.
Last-Minute Registration Amid Speculation
Bukele, along with his running mate Vice President Ulloa, registered as the candidates for their party just before the registration deadline, creating a last-minute spectacle amid rumors of Bukele’s hospitalization.
Bukele’s Public Support and Intentions
The President’s decision follows his announcement last year, driven by the strong public support he garnered for revitalizing the nation’s economy and enhancing security. He stated, “We are ready to change whatever we have to change to be able to insert ourselves even more in the community of nations, but always respecting our sovereignty and independence.”
Supporters and Critics Weigh In
While his supporters express enthusiasm for his potential second term, critics argue that he lacks the constitutional authority to seek re-election.
Constitutional Dilemma: A Ruling in Favor
According to El Salvador’s constitution, Bukele is forbidden from pursuing another five-year term. However, a court ruling favored him, raising concerns about a potential violation of the law.
In 2021, the nation’s Supreme Court issued a ruling allowing the President to run for a second term. The Supreme Electoral Tribunal confirmed the decision as unappealable.
Opposition and International Concerns
Opposition parties and activist groups voiced alarm over the court’s decision, labeling Bukele an authoritarian leader and criticizing the upcoming election as a “farce.”
Critics argue that the judges who sanctioned Bukele’s re-election were appointed by the legislature controlled by the ruling party, which deviates from the usual procedure.
International Perspective: A Debate for Salvadorans
Brian A. Nichols, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, emphasized that the legality and legitimacy of the election should be debated by Salvadorans. He stated, “There has to be a broad debate about the legality and legitimacy of the election, but it is a debate for Salvadorans. They will have the opportunity to express their will at the polls, and they can decide whether they agree or disagree with that process.”
Pro-Bitcoin President’s Impact
Bukele assumed office in 2019 after his party, Nueva Ideas, won the general elections, ending the dominance of the top two parties, the Nationalist Republican Alliance and the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMNLB).
Known for his pro-Bitcoin stance, Bukele’s tenure has witnessed El Salvador’s embrace of the leading cryptocurrency, marked by significant purchases and supportive legislation for the broader industry.
Vice President Praises Pro-Bitcoin Policies
The vice president acknowledged the President’s pro-Bitcoin approach as a vital element in the country’s economic resurgence. He stated, “It’s the result of applying a financial policy from the government of President Nayib Bukele, exercised by our entities in charge.”
Support for Bukele’s Party
A poll by the Center for Citizen Studies at Francisco Gavidia University reveals that Nueva Ideas enjoys 70% support, partly attributed to Bukele’s efforts to combat violent gangs.