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El Salvador’s Bukele will not bow to criticism

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Significance

President Nayib Bukele’s New Ideas (NI) won an overwhelming victory in February’s legislative elections, securing 56 of 84 seats. Bukele had often clashed with the Constitutional Chamber. The apparent push to fill it with friendly judges compounds concerns over potentially brewing authoritarianism.

Impacts

  • Moves against members of the press will further damage Bukele’s international reputation.
  • An OAS investigation into the possible violation of the separation of powers could lead to sanctions.
  • US criticism could encourage Bukele to seek closer ties with Beijing; Congress yesterday ratified a 2019 cooperation deal with China.
  • Bukele’s actions may embolden the governments of Honduras and Guatemala, which also appear keen to entrench their political control.

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