El Salvador’s Congress approves constitutional reform changes; critics call it undemocratic – Odd News

El Salvador’s Congress, controlled by President Nayib Bukele’s New Ideas party, on Monday approved an amendment to an article of the constitution to allow for greater constitutional reforms without having to wait until after the election of a new legislature power.

The move further consolidates power in the hands of Bukele and his party, with some critics saying it opens a possible path for the leader to remain in power.

Previously, constitutional reforms had to be proposed and approved in one legislature and then ratified in the subsequent Congress after elections. Now reforms can only be implemented with a vote of three-quarters of lawmakers.

“This is an attack on our country’s democracy. The only thing they show is their narrow interests and the ambition to keep power and not give it up,” said Rosa Romero of the right-wing Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA).

Bukele, a populist strongman, has already taken steps that critics say endanger the Central American country’s fragile democracy.

In addition to prosecuting critics and arresting 1% of his country’s population as part of a crackdown on gangs, the leader last year also approved reforms that reduced the number of seats in Congress, effectively forcing the upcoming elections into weighed his party’s advantage.

In February, the highly popular Bukele easily won a second term in his country’s presidential elections, despite the constitution forbidding re-election. His party also won a supermajority in Congress, allowing Bukele to effectively govern as he pleased.

Constitutional reforms would only allow the leader to implement his policies, including possibly more reforms to stay in power.

In an interview with the Associated Press in January, Bukele’s vice president did not rule out the possibility of the leader seeking a third term if the constitution were changed, after repeatedly dodging questions from reporters.

Monday’s reform quickly sparked outrage among critics and watchdogs, including Claudia Ortiz, a lawmaker from the VAMOS party who voted against the reform.

‘Do they know what they are doing? They surrender to power. Aren’t they ashamed? I want to tell Salvadorans not to give up,” Ortiz said.

Meanwhile, Citizen Action, a non-governmental organization, said in a statement Monday that “New Ideas eliminate another political counterweight.”

The measure they abolished “was aimed at preserving the constitution and protecting the population against the abuse of temporary legislative majorities,” the statement said.

BY MARCOS ALEMÁN, VIA APNEWS

Source: https://www.ocafezinho.com/2024/05/02/congresso-de-el-salvador-aprova-mudancas-para-reformar-constituicao-criticos-chamam-de-antidemocratica/