El Salvador top court rules president can run for 2nd term

In this file photo taken on February 09, 2020 Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele gestures as he speaks to supporters during a protest outside the Legislative Assembly to make pressure on deputies to approve a loan to invest in security, in San Salvador. (MARVIN RECINOS / AFP)

El Salvador’s Supreme Court constitutional chamber ruled that a sitting president can run for a second term following their first term, potentially allowing President Nayib Bukele to seek reelection, according to a decision issued late on Friday evening.

The chamber ordered the country’s electoral court to comply with its ruling “that a person who holds the Presidency of the Republic and hasn’t been President in the previous immediate period participates in the electoral contest for a second occasion.”

The ruling Nuevas Ideas party, which won a congressional supermajority in February elections, used the first meeting of a new legislative session in May to replace five judges from the constitutional chamber and to fire the attorney general in what critics considered a power grab.

Salvadoran law allows congress to remove constitutional judges and the attorney general with a two-thirds legislative vote. The US and the Organization of American States criticized the move.

ALSO READ: El Salvador to present constitutional reform plan

The electoral court issued a statement on Saturday saying it will comply with the ruling “establishing the President of the Republic’s option of registration as a candidate to the Presidency of the Republic for a second term if he so wishes and a legally registered political party proposes him for the post.”