Constitution Draftsman Affirms Presidential Reelection Legality.

In a recent interview, Arturo Méndez Azahar, an analyst and constitutional lawyer, stated that the current Constitution of the Republic, dating back to 1983, permits the President of the Republic, Nayib Bukele, to compete for immediate reelection.

Azahar, who was a member of the drafting committee for the political electoral platform presented to the Assembly of 1982, emphasized that the 1983 constitutional text is clear in establishing the legality of immediate presidential reelection, which was prohibited in previous constitutions.

“The exposition of motives [of the 1983 Constitution project] explains that there is a radical change in Articles 61, 62, 65 [of the 1972 Constitution] that stated ‘the exercise of the presidency is prohibited, they cannot be president.’ However, in 1983, we definitively changed that, and we modified Article 152, we say it in the exposition of motives, and it states ‘they cannot be candidates.’ This structurally changes the previous dogma and is presented as an exception to the dogma of alternation and non-reelection,” explained the constitutional lawyer.

Furthermore, on September 3, 2021, the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ) stated that previous chambers had misinterpreted Article 152 of the Constitution, erroneously prohibiting immediate presidential reelection. Thus, the chamber corrected the jurisprudence and ruled in favor of allowing it.

Based on this ruling, Nayib Bukele announced on September 15 of last year his interest in running for a second term in the upcoming elections. To initiate the candidacy process, he registered his presidential precandidacy last month to participate in the internal elections of Nuevas Ideas, which will be held next Sunday.

While the political left and right argue that Bukele cannot constitutionally opt for immediate presidential reelection, four magistrates of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), with the exception of Julio Olivo from the FMLN, have stated that they will abide by the September 3, 2021 ruling.

“A scholar of law, a true constitutionalist, cannot overlook the foundation. For those who have remained fixated and closed their eyes to the 1972 and 1950 Constitutions, they could not take that step forward in the constitutional development of our country,” argued Azahar.

On the other hand, lawyer Tahnya Pastor pointed out that previously, various social sectors claimed that the resolutions of the Constitutional Chamber were binding. However, they now seem unwilling to abide by the ruling on reelection.

Numerous constitutionalists, as well as analysts and lawyers, have reiterated that the decisions of the Constitutional Chamber remain binding.