Amnesty International: Human Rights Crisis Could Worse in El Salvador 3:50

(CNN Spanish) --

Nuevas Ideas, Nayib Bukele's party, will have an absolute majority in the unicameral congress of El Salvador, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) reported this Monday.

The ruling party obtained 54 of the 60 deputies that will make up the Legislative Assembly, according to the TSE report, which will allow it, without the need to consult or have the support of other parties, to approve or reform laws or appoint judges to the Supreme Court. of Justice, the prosecutor or the head of the Office of the Attorney General for the Defense of Human Rights, as he already did in the current period.

According to the final count, the National Concertation Party (PCN) obtained two deputies and the Christian Democratic Party (PDC) obtained one. Both parties are allies of the ruling Nuevas Ideas.

Meanwhile, the opposition will be represented, without major impact on the decisions made by the Assembly, by two deputies from the Nationalist Republican Alliance, Arena, and another from the Vamos party. The new deputies will take office, according to the Electoral Law, on May 1.

The Electoral Tribunal announced the results 15 days after the election, after on February 4 the members of the Vote Receiving Boards had problems transmitting the results. These inconveniences led the authorities of the Central American country to approve a manual recount.

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Meanwhile, Nayib Bukele won a second term in the presidential elections of February 4 with 2,700,725 votes, 84.6% of the votes, above the five opposition candidates, the Court indicated on February 9, after admit actions that "difficult" the transmission of the primary results on voting day. On Saturday, the electoral body released the final scrutiny report of the election of president and vice president of El Salvador for the period 2024-2029, in which it ratifies the results.

They report alleged irregularities

The political opposition denounced during the vote counting day what it considers irregularities that favored the ruling party and accused the actions of the Supreme Electoral Court of being partial by allowing actions contrary to the electoral law, something that the magistrates have rejected.

In the last week, during the time that the final scrutiny lasted, the opponents questioned the transparency of the count since in several electoral packages they detected that in some Vote Receiving Boards the sum of the votes awarded to the parties did not correspond to the number of people who had voted, but that the authorities refused to compare the signatures of the voters on the registry and the number of leftover ballots. Each Vote Receiving Board had at its disposal, according to the TSE, a total of 700 ballots.

Another complaint made by the opposition is that unfolded ballots were found, since due to their size they were necessary so that people could put them in the boxes after casting their vote. Another of the alleged irregularities is that ballots marked with marker were found and crayons were used on election day.

For this reason, the Vamos, Nuestro Tiempo, Arena and FMNL parties presented this Monday to the TSE a request to annul the legislative election so that the vote can be repeated.

However, one of the TSE judges said this Monday, hours before the parties presented the formal request for annulment, that the deadline to challenge the result has already passed.

“It is 24 hours after the electoral process has concluded. That is, after 5 pm on February 4, the parties or any person had the right to request the annulment or repetition of the elections, for 24 hours,” said Noel Orellana, TSE magistrate, during a television interview.

The parties, according to Orellana, can file appeals for some parts of the final act on the final scrutiny.

Article 324 of the Electoral Code of El Salvador establishes 3 causes for which the annulment of the final count can be requested within three days following notification. The causes are the following:

  • Due to lack of notification to the contending political parties or coalitions of the place, day and time of the scrutiny

  • For not having complied with the procedure established in the Electoral Code

  • Due to falsity of the data or results recorded in the minutes and documents that served as the basis for the final scrutiny and that varied the result of the election.

The attorney general, Rodolfo Delgado, for his part says that they have been observers and guarantors of the legality of the process carried out by the TSE.

Opposition loses strength

The Bukele phenomenon has had a negative impact on the way people perceive and evaluate opposition parties, some analysts say.

For the period 2024-2027, the opposition will only have three deputies (two for Arena and one for Vamos). In the 2021 election, Arena obtained 11 deputies and in the case of Vamos, Claudia Ortíz, achieved re-election.

However, the FMLN - the party that expelled Bukele in 2017 - did not obtain any deputies for the next period. In the current administration, which ends on April 30, it has four deputies.

In 2019, Bukele set a precedent with his presidential campaign by breaking with the two-party system that until then existed in the country, defeating the Nationalist Republican Alliance party (Arena) that had governed for 20 years, and the Martí National Liberation Front party (FMLN). ) who ruled for 10 years. In the 2021 elections, Bukele's party also obtained an absolute majority in Congress with 56 seats obtained out of a total of 84, in these elections the number of deputies was reduced to a total of 60.

Nayib Bukele