Bukele takes leave of office to seek re-election

The Congress of El Salvador approved that Claudia Juana Rodríguez de Guevara, current private secretary of Nayib Bukele, occupy the Presidency while the president focuses on the electoral campaign after obtaining a license amid accusations of unconstitutionality


Nayib Bukele, a businessman and politician by vocation, will seek his election for a second term in El Salvador in the 2024 general elections, despite the fact that this means going against the Constitution, which prohibits immediate re-election, and multiple calls for respect the Magna Carta.

The possibility of Bukele running for a second consecutive term in the elections in February next year was opened in September 2021, when a questioned Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ) modified a criterion on this possibility.

A year later, Bukele expressed his desire to seek re-election. This Thursday, the politician materialized this by requesting permission from the Legislative Assembly to be absent from office for six months and dedicate himself to his electoral campaign, a request that was approved by 67 votes in favor of the 84 deputies, the portal highlighted. Divergent.

“After discussing it with my wife Gabriela and my family, I announce to the Salvadoran people that I have decided that I will be a candidate for the presidency of the Republic,” he said at the time on a national radio and television network on the occasion of the commemoration of the independence of El Salvador.

After that day, the politician, with Palestinian roots, received multiple calls to respect the Constitution, which in at least five articles prohibits immediate re-election. But the former mayor of the Salvadoran capital (2015-2018) has practically ignored these calls and continues his path to win the Presidency again.

Bukele’s secretary will occupy the presidency

The Congress of El Salvador approved on Thursday night that Claudia Juana Rodríguez de Guevara, current private secretary of Nayib Bukele, will occupy the Presidency while the president focuses on the electoral campaign after obtaining a license amid allegations of unconstitutionality.

Rodríguez de Guevara will thus become, as of December 1, the first woman to hold the Presidency of El Salvador in the history of the Central American country.

“Citizen Claudia Juana Rodríguez de Guevara is elected as designated by the President of the Republic, for the current presidential period, which ends on May 31, 2024,” says the decree approved with 67 votes in favor and 11 against. of the 84 deputies.

This appointment comes after Congress, with a large pro-government majority, gave Bukele and his vice president, Félix Ulloa, a 6-month license to dedicate themselves to the campaign ahead of the February 2024 elections.

The Salvadoran Constitution states that in the absence of the president and vice president, the Executive power will be in charge of the people designated to the Presidency.

Bukele was expected to present two people to be appointed to the Presidency, as mandated by the Constitution, but he only proposed Rodríguez de Guevara.

The presidential appointee replaced the current president of Congress, Ernesto Castro, in the Private Secretariat of the Presidency, as of March 17, 2022.

She has held the position of financial manager of the Presidency, is president of the Board of Directors of the National Directorate of Municipal Works (DOM) and was treasurer of the mayor’s office of San Salvador, when Bukele was mayor.

She was also, according to her resume published on a government transparency site, financial director of the company Obermet, linked to Bukele.

Before coming to power, Bukele stated that “in El Salvador the same person cannot be president twice in a row” and after achieving the Salvadoran Presidency in 2019, he described former president Juan Orlando Hernández and Daniel Ortega, re-elected in Honduras, as “dictators.” and Nicaragua, respectively, thanks to resolutions of constitutional courts.

However, despite having been accused of violating the Constitution, Bukele has the support of a large part of Salvadorans and a popularity of 90%.

In more than four and a half years of administration, the politician has been criticized for some of his actions, setting off alarms among organizations and the international community, such as his entry into the Congress headquarters in February 2020 accompanied by armed soldiers.

It has also been strongly criticized for promoting “unpopular” measures or those that are classified as violating human rights, such as the adoption of bitcoin as legal tender along with the US dollar and the implementation of an emergency regime measure to “combat” The gang.

But among all of the above, Bukele has 68.4% voting intention for the 2024 elections, according to various surveys, driven above all by having managed to reduce crime in the country to a minimum.

Bukele is the first president of the Salvadoran democratic era with the option of seeking immediate reelection and, if he wins, he would be the first to repeat the position despite the fact that the Constitution does not allow it.

The only precedent in El Salvador of a second term occurred in 1935 under the dictatorship of Maximiliano Hernández Martínez.

*Read also: Electoral body declares appeals against Bukele’s candidacy “inadmissible”

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