The first measure of the new Legislative Assembly of El Salvador has been a blow to the Constitutional Assembly for having stood in the unilateral way of the president, Nayib Bukele. The Parliament elected two months ago, with a pro-government majority, has approved this Saturday the dismissal of the titular and alternate magistrates of the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice. The argument of the legislators coincides with the accusations that the president launched against the court for having stopped decrees related to the management of the health emergency. The decision of the Assembly of the Central American country, which will appoint substitutes, has already received public criticism from the Joe Biden Administration through Juan Gonzalez, his advisor for Latin America, and manifestations of repudiation from international organizations such as Human Rights Watch (HRW).
The motion has been presented by the vice president of the newly installed Assembly, Suecy Callejas. "At the initiative of several deputies, I request that a piece of correspondence be included with the dispensation of the procedure for the knowledge of this Legislative Plenary in order to promote the dismissal of the proprietary and alternate magistrates of the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice", has requested the deputy amid applause from her bench. The measure, which affects the five regular judges and the four substitutes, has gone ahead in a hurry without the usual parliamentary procedure.
Bukele has not been slow to defend the initiative through Twitter. "The dismissal of the magistrates of the Constitutional Chamber by the Assembly is an incontrovertible power clearly expressed in Article 186 of the Constitution of the Republic." That article, in effect, provides that magistrates may be removed "for specific causes, previously established by law." However, on this occasion the motivations are not legal but political.
The resounding triumph of the president in the last legislative elections, with a margin that was unprecedented since the war ended almost three decades ago, multiplied Bukele's powers, which through Parliament and his party, New Ideas, can promote decisions such as this Saturday without the need to negotiate. That is, the president can get rid of the counterpowers that characterize a democracy by the mere fact of not agreeing with his resolutions.
That was precisely the reason that deepened the confrontation with justice. "The Constitutional Chamber declared the legitimately established regulations unconstitutional, in relation to the containment of the pandemic," justified in a Twitter thread the official profile of the Legislative Assembly, as if it were a partisan body. "The magistrates have generated, with their pronouncements and arbitrary sentences, a fraud to the Constitution," he said.
Bukele, driven to the government by discontent in 2019, has been at the center of controversy on numerous occasions for his questioned recipes against the gangs, which have cost him accusations for human rights violations. This episode confirms his willingness to establish himself in power. "It breaks with the rule of law and seeks to concentrate all power in its hands," criticized the director for the Americas of Human Rights Watch, José Miguel Vivanco. To his repudiation has been added a lapidary comment from Juan González, Biden's man for the Western Hemisphere. "This is not done," said González, who has already expressed concern for weeks about the harassment of the Salvadoran president to the media.
But Bukele, who has made social networks his main communication platform, has applauded the dismissal, making it clear that he already has full control of the legislative branch. “Courageous deputies, working and fulfilling the popular mandate. God and the people with you! ”.
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