El Salvador Opposition Challenges Bukele’s Re-election Bid on Constitutional Grounds

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By LatAm Reports Editor

El Salvador’s political landscape is facing a constitutional challenge as the right-wing opposition seeks to prevent President Nayib Bukele from pursuing re-election. The Supreme Electoral Tribunal of the country received a formal request from the opposition, including the Arena party, to annul the populist leader’s candidacy on the basis of constitutional limits.

The opposition’s action comes in the wake of the tribunal’s acceptance of Bukele’s re-election bid last week. Arena party representative Cesar Reyes publicly articulated the party’s stance, which champions democracy, by submitting a legal brief against Bukele’s registration as a candidate.

The crux of the debate centers around the Salvadoran constitution, which enforces a single-term limit for the presidency. Despite this, Bukele, buoyed by his party’s legislative majority, received backing from constitutional court judges to proceed with his re-election campaign, igniting widespread discussion.

Bukele, whose administration has been marked by a stern crackdown on violent gangs, enjoys significant support from citizens weary of crime. However, his aggressive tactics have drawn ire from human rights groups that decry the mass arrests and trials without proper legal processes.

Echoing the concerns of the Arena party, the presidential candidate of the Our Time party, Luis Parada, indicated plans to present a similar brief to the electoral body, aiming to invalidate Bukele’s candidacy.The incumbent president, whose New Ideas party has reaffirmed its support for his re-election efforts, remains a popular figure in the region. Nonetheless, his popularity is juxtaposed against criticism from humanitarian organizations regarding the encroachment on civil liberties under an emergency regime that has been in effect since March 2022. The nation is poised for its electoral decision on February 4, with these constitutional queries casting a shadow over the forthcoming polls.