1) Jacobo García, “El Salvador’s Bukele vs the world: Why the president’s re-election bid is sounding alarm bells; The 41-year-old may be the most popular leader in Latin America, but his decision to run for a second term has sparked concerns in the international community,” El País in English, September 19, 2022 (08:23 UTC);
2) Lorena Arroyo, “El Salvador’s Bukele announces bid for re-election despite constitutional ban; The populist leader shares his decision one year after Supreme Court justices appointed by himself ruled that consecutive presidential terms should be allowed,” El País in English, September 16, 2022 (10:05 UTC);
Imagine Donald Trump got the Supreme Court to say he could run for a third term, despite the Constitution’s clear provision limiting presidents to two terms. And he then ran and was elected to a third term, while the Supreme Court rejected all legal appeals to declare the election unconstitutional.
That is exactly what President Nayib Bukele of El Salvador is in the process of doing. Today Juan González, the Director for Western Hemisphere Affairs at the White House National Security Council, when asked to comment on Bukele’s announcement of his intention to run for a second five-year term as president of El Salvador, despite the clear prohibition of a second consecutive term in the Salvadoran constitution, equivocated.
He said he was not an expert on El Salvador and not an expert on Salvadoran coontitutional law. Some thought Bukele’s reelection bid was constitutional, and others thought it was unconstitutional, he asserted. He didn’t express his or the U.S. government’s view on the issue.
Bukele is a very popular president with autocratic tendencies.
Bukele’s hand-picked justices in the Supreme Court’s Constitutional Chamber in a decision last year decided that a reelection bid would be constitutional.
I’ve read the decision. It is an abomination, and will live in history as evidence of political domination of the Supreme Court in El Salvador, on the road to authoritarianism.
If González can’t make a clear call on this question, we should expect that with this kind of thinking he would go along with a third term for Trump in the hypothetical set forth above.
The U.S. needs to oppose Bukele’s intention to seek reelection with all of its force, and with all of its diplomats and officials.
The Trenchant Observer