Magistrates of El Salvador’s electoral tribunal recused themselves from the process that led to Bukele’s victory

The five substitute magistrates who make up El Salvador’s electoral court have recused themselves from the elections that gave a landslide victory to controversial President Nayib Bukele on February 4. salvadoran newspaper Electricity house It has published three letters sent by these officials to their fellow owners of the collegiate body, in which a week after the election they denounced that actions were taken during the process that were outside the “legal” and “correct” way of directing the process. Were far away from. This type. Magnificence and affirm that “we are no longer in a position to accept decisions that have not been legally issued” nor “declarations and commitments made unilaterally.”

Bukele won re-election with an overwhelming majority of 82% of the vote, according to results made public by the Electoral Court on 9 February, after chaotic days of vote counting due to the failure of the initial recount system. Election officials reported that they would open all polls and conduct a ballot-by-ballot count to determine the number of representatives elected to the National Assembly. The electoral body said the final count was “successful” and declared victory for Bukele and his New Ideas political movement, despite criticism from the opposition and local observers.

However, the process has been criticized by the court’s five substitute magistrates, who said decisions were taken that were not in accordance with the law. In addition to the failure in the vote transmission system, these officials have warned of criticism by the opposition, which has asserted that the court did not provide timely information about the mechanisms they should follow in counting the votes. As reported, the right-wing Arena party decided to withdraw from the investigation, noting that the electoral authorities did not guarantee “transparent process conditions”. Electricity house,

In one of the letters published by Salvadoran media, the magistrates report that they warned that the TSE was “out of time to solve” the problems the electoral system was facing. According to that letter, “Magistrates say that by 25 January they knew ‘they were in an irreparable crisis’ which had already changed a large part of the General Election Plan (PLAGEL). The plan included 25 programs (or work axis) into which the organization of the electoral process is divided and which is considered the backbone of the entire organization. According to the substitute magistrates, the crisis and decisions not being amended in the last days of January, only one of which Result could be: crisis on polling day,” reports Electricity house, Officials also expressed doubts about the proper functioning of election equipment. “Were they tested properly? “Were some changes made that hindered its proper functioning?”, expressed the magistrate, who also confirmed that he demanded that he be informed of the decisions taken by the organization regarding the process. They deplore, “We cannot accept any responsibility for the problems that were presented to us untimely and whose consequences were revealed on February 4 (election day).”

On the same day of the election, before the electoral tribunal had ruled on the results, President Bukele declared a landslide victory. That night, the Salvadoran President declared his victory with 85% without waiting for official results and attacked the opposition and the press. The victory allows Bukele, 42, to continue his controversial policy of imposing emergency rule and confronting violence, which has allowed him to dismantle the so-called Maras gang that has terrorized the Central American country. With the emergency rule imposed by the president eleven months ago, more than 70,000 people have been jailed. Human rights organizations have condemned what in many cases are illegal occupations, false trials and serious violations in the country’s prisons. Bukele has criticized these complaints and yet enjoys high approval from the population, who appreciates the measures against gangs. “Yes, okay, some unpleasant things have happened,” residents told this newspaper, “but we are a thousand times better than before.”

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(Tags to translate)El Salvador(T)Nayib Bukele(T)Central America(T)US(T)Elections(T)Democracy(T)Latin America(T)Politics

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