Weekly Report - 08 June 2023 (WR-23-23)

EL SALVADOR: Bukele alarms with electoral system changes

In a speech delivered last week to mark his fourth year in office, El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele unveiled plans to significantly reduce the number of the country’s municipalities and the size of the national legislature. The changes, which are in the process of being approved by the legislature which is controlled by his Nuevas Ideas (NI), come eight months before the 2024 elections, in which Bukele is seeking a further term, despite a constitutional ban on re-election. Bukele critics consider the changes part of a strategy to further concentrate power and erode democracy, a process which has escalated since the NI’s sweeping victory in the February 2021 legislative elections, which gave it a two-thirds majority - since used to appoint Bukele allies to key posts in institutions like the judiciary and attorney general’s office (FGR) and dismantle democratic checks and balances.

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