Security & Strategic Review - June 2021

EL SALVADOR: Ejection of top judges and AG head fans democracy concerns

El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele has set off democracy-related alarm bells over the past year for various reasons - from the deployment of security forces to congress [SSR-20-04] to his repeated disregard for judicial rulings on his government’s response to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic [SSR-20-06]. These concerns have intensified following the 1 May inauguration of the new legislature in which, following February legislative elections, the ruling Nuevas Ideas (NI) has an unprecedented two-thirds majority. One of the new legislature’s first acts was to dismiss the supreme court’s constitutional chamber (SC) and the head of the attorney general’s office (AG), Raúl Melara, which have been critical of Bukele, fanning fears that the remaining checks on his power have now been removed.

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