SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador >> El Salvador’s Congress granted President Nayib Bukele leave for six months today to allow him to campaign for reelection despite a constitutional prohibition and approved the president’s selection of his private secretary to be the country’s interim leader.
Bukele will seek a second five-year term for the New Ideas party in the Feb. 4 national elections. Vice President Félix Ulloa was also granted leave to campaign again as Bukele’s running mate.
Lawmakers voted 67 in favor to 12 against to approve Bukele’s request for leave.
Congress then voted to approve Bukele’s selection of Claudia Juana Rodríguez de Guevara, his private secretary, to fill in until his current term ends May 30, 2024. Rodríguez de Guevara has been a close collaborator of Bukele since his political start as mayor of Nuevo Cuscatlan.
Constitutional lawyers maintain that Bukele’s reelection bid violates at least four articles of the constitution. But the Supreme Electoral Tribunal ruled earlier this month that Bukele’s candidacy met the legal requirements.
While highly popular in El Salvador for his aggressive war against the gangs that long terrorized the country, Bukele has faced international criticism for consolidating power and not respecting human rights.