The recent coup in El Salvador has been a significant development for the country. During the campaign, Bukele publicly defied the constitutional chamber’s ruling and lashed out at judges, attempting to undermine the independence of the judiciary. This is a particularly troubling move because removing judges for political reasons is illegal under international standards. As a result, the judges in the constitutional chamber were unable to defend their positions.
The independence of the judiciary is weak
The president of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, wants to consolidate all political power in his hands. Washington should condemn this move and stand up for the rule of law. The coup is not surprising given the recent parliamentary elections. The Bukele party has already removed all judges from the constitutional chamber of El Salvador’s Supreme Court, and its new attorney general has made changes that will further weaken the independence of the judiciary.
In the deep economic crisis
The coup comes at a crucial time in the country’s democracy. El Salvador has seen a series of recent elections, and the FMLN won a supermajority in the February midterm elections. The coup’s popularity has been eroded by the deep economic crisis, and Bukele’s efforts to court tech-bro investors and foreign tourism have dwindled. However, the instability of Bukele’s governance style could jeopardize international loans and tank the country’s credit rating. The Biden administration has been critical of Bukele’s actions since January, and has not held any meeting with him.
Ownership of the country is divided
While the recent presidential elections are a major boost for Bukele’s party, the crisis has weakened the support of the opposition, and the country’s political class has been divided in the aftermath of the scandal. Meanwhile, the economy has collapsed in the wake of the coup, despite the fact that the opposition was overwhelmingly elected. Furthermore, President Bukele’s vetoed the leader of the opposition’s top court.
The present government is authoritarian
A popular antiestablishment leader based on horizontal accountability, Bukele’s rise in El Salvador is an indication of authoritarian trends in the country. The current government is engaging in authoritarian behavior and he is a key player in these elections. He has even forced the opposition-controlled legislature to approve an international loan to his government. The repression of the opposition is widespread in the country.
This election is a success for the opposition
While this election is a success for the opposition, the rise of Bukele’s supporters reflects the deep dissatisfaction with the status quo. The popular anti-establishment candidate portrayed himself as a rebel against ARENA and the FMLN. His supporters included middle-class and working-class Salvadorans, as well as evangelical Christians and frustrated former FMLN voters. The party’s coalition also incorporated narcotrafficking interests, including some shadowy military and narco-trafficking organizations. In short, the populist candidate has swept the legislative elections, and his followers can expect the same.
While the government has a judicial majority, the populists are still concerned about the future of the country. Moreover, the people fear for the safety of the citizens. The protests are a threat to the rule of law in El Salvador. The people have the right to defend themselves. But their freedom of speech is threatened. Unlike other nations, Bukele is unlikely to censor journalists.