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President Nayiv Bukele President Nayiv Bukele  (AFP or licensors)

El Salvador opens door to President's re-election

El Salvador`s Supreme Court has ruled that a President of the country can run for a second consecutive term. James Blears reports on a major, but hardly surprising move.

By James Blears

The Supreme Court decision, which has been backed by El Salvador`s Electoral Tribunal, opens the way for 40-year-old President Nayib Bukele to run for a second term. Although he`s yet to confirm if he will, most believe it`s more than likely. Previously, it was prohibited for a President to seek re-election for ten years.  Since first being elected in 2019, Bukele has walked his political talk about tackling organized crime, rooting out corruption, and taking back control of the country`s prison system, which hitherto, was often controlled by gangsters wielding chaotic mob law. 

The key to this successful ploy leading to a power-play can be traced back to February when The New Ideas Party won an overwhelming majority in Congressional Elections. They had markedly other ideas about the one-term Presidency. Taking up power in May they fired five opposing Supreme Court Judges and even more significantly, they forced out the independent and dissenting Attorney General, clearing the way for this initiative. 

The Opposition in El Salvador,  Washington, and others in the Americas, are wary of the move, which has been criticized by some, as a tilt towards dictatorship.  Bukele`s supporters insist everything done has been achieved through scrupulously democratic means. The next Presidential Election is in 2024, so Bukele has plenty of time to bide his time. Many people still yearn for stability, peace, and quiet, after a civil war from 1979-1992, which ended with the Chapultepec Peace Accords in Mexico City. 

Listen to the report by James Blears
05 September 2021, 16:24