Weekly Report - 02 May 2024 (WR-24-17)

EL SALVADOR: Bukele clears another obstacle to absolute power

El Salvador’s legislative assembly, controlled by Nayib Bukele’s personalist party Nuevas Ideas (NI), will have carte blanche to amend the constitution in the new legislature which began sitting on 1 May. At the eleventh-hour the NI pushed through an amendment in the outgoing legislature, which removes the requirement that changes to the country’s 1983 constitution must be approved by two successive legislatures. The increasingly sidelined political opposition and civil society groups decried the move. They argued that, contrary to the NI’s claims that it was responding to the popular will, it was designed purely to concentrate power in the hands of Bukele, who sidestepped a constitutional prohibition on re-election in February [WR-24-05], and will next month become the country’s first head of state in nearly a century to serve a second consecutive term.

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