Balancing Power and Representation: President Bukele’s Plan to Reduce Municipalities and Deputies.

In his fourth-year mandate speech, President Nayib Bukele presented a proposal for administrative territorial reorganization and the reduction of deputies in the Legislative Assembly.

The proposal put forth by the President suggests that El Salvador should go from having 262 municipalities to 44.

“The municipalities [currently existing] will be transformed into districts, which will, in turn, comprise these 44 city councils. We will no longer have 262 mayors, 262 municipal councils, nor all the other trusted collaborators such as syndics, substitutes, treasurers, managers, assistants, assistant to the assistant […],” explained the President.

Bukele emphasized that the proposed territorial reorganization would not erase the cultural identity of each municipality, as customs and traditions would continue.

“The reordering of municipalities will allow the poorest areas to receive more resources for infrastructure and development projects. The reduction in city councils and municipalities will not make the municipal identities disappear; they will continue as districts. Municipal fees will remain the same in each district, without any increase,” he added.

Regarding the composition of the Legislative Assembly, the proposal suggests reverting to 64 deputies, the number before it was increased to 84 seats as it currently stands.

“ARENA and the FMLN, in the farce they signed, added 24 more deputies to the Assembly to secure seats for their friends without losing the others,” the President recalled.

Furthermore, he urged the deputies to approve both proposals before the presidential, legislative, and municipal elections scheduled between February and March 2024.

“For a country like ours, which was on the brink of collapse due to violence, reinventing ourselves was and continues to be vital. Today, four years later, we can say without exaggeration: we are no longer the same,” he reflected.

However, the ARENA and VAMOS parties stated that these proposals only seek to concentrate power further. The tricolor party issued a statement claiming that these tactics are aimed at tilting the electoral field in their favor while diminishing the influence of minority parties.

Claudia Ortiz, a VAMOS deputy, stated, “They seek to concentrate more power and leave no room for those who may have diverse thoughts and political ideas.”

In conclusion, President Bukele’s proposed administrative reorganization aims to optimize resource allocation, particularly in the poorest areas, without erasing the cultural identities of the municipalities. However, concerns have been raised about the concentration of power and potential limited representation for minority parties. The approval of these proposals before the upcoming elections remains a subject of debate.