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LatinNews Daily Report - 26 July 2013

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In Brief – El Salvador & Nicaragua

JUDICIARY | CCR magistrates appointed (again). On 25 July El Salvador’s national assembly appointed justices to the three-member Corte de Cuentas de la República (CCR), a body nominally independent of the three branches of government, whose remit it is to monitor the transparency of public accounts. This is the fourth time that the national assembly has been forced to make the appointments to fill vacancies that have been pending for six months, after the constitutional chamber of the supreme justice court rejected the previous choices on the grounds that they were affiliated to political parties. This had provoked a strong reaction from President Mauricio Funes, who warned that the resultant uncertainty was deterring investors and could even threaten the 2014 March presidential elections, as candidates need to have their accounts scrutinised by the CCR before they can register with the supreme electoral tribunal.

POLITICS | Government approves partial pensions. On 25 July, the Unidad Nacional del Adulto Mayor (UNAM), which represents senior citizens, announced that the government led by President Daniel Ortega would begin paying out partial pensions to its members on 5 August. This is in line with a 19 July presidential decree awarding partial pensions to people aged 60 and over that had failed to reach the contributions threshold of 750 weeks necessary to claim a full pension. The UNAM has long argued its case, and was a recent source of social unrest for the government.  The decree  authorises a monthly pension of C$1,200 (US$48) to those who managed contributions of between 250-400 weeks; C$2,000(US$80) for accumulated contributions of up to 600 weeks and US$2,800 (US$113) for accumulated contributions of up to 750 weeks. Finance Minister Iván Acosta said the new payouts, which will benefit some 15,000 people, would cost the government between C$600m and C$800m (US$24m-US$32m) annually.