The United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Diego García-Sayán, considered unacceptable and worrying the words of President Nayib Bukele, who assured that if he were a dictator he would “shoot (the magistrates of the Constitutional Chamber) or something like that”.
On his broadcast on August 9, the Salvadoran president denied that he is a dictator and said the following to those who consider him so:
“I would have shot them all or something like that, if I were a dictator, save a thousand lives in exchange of five. But no, I am not a dictator. Furthermore, they are the dictators who take away the powers that we have by Constitution and by law. But, well, dictatorship”.
#ElSalvador: Es inaceptable el ataque a la independencia y dignificad judicial. Preocupante que el Presidente Nayib Bukele, por cadena de radio y TV, amenace la vida e integridad de los magistrados de la Sala Constitucional, en lugar de promover y respetar el Estado de Derecho.
— Diego García-Sayán (@UNIndepJudges) August 11, 2020
The Salvadoran president rejected the ruling of the Constitutional Chamber that, on August 7, deemed unconstitutional the executive decree 32 that regulated the phases of economic reopening and indicated that citizens should stay in their homes according to such phases.
The Chamber argued that only the Legislative Assembly can suspend or limit constitutional rights such as the right to work or freedom of mobility. Six civil society organizations considered it necessary for the Constitutional Chamber to certify repeated non-compliance with the rullings to the Attorney General’s Office, which until today has not spoken about the case.
Bukele rejected the sentence and accused the magistrates of the Constitutional Chamber of working as employees of the Congress.
El Salvador is six months away from the elections of a new Legislative Assembly. The President currently has an unfavorable legislative arithmetic: it is not difficult for him to have the support of 24 deputies from four political parties. However, 58 deputies from ARENA, FMLN and PDC counterbalance him.
The Magistrates from the Judicial Branch serve terms of 9 years, a term that was recently questioned by an official of the Executive Branch.