A Nation in Uproar: Salvadorans Condemn Funes’ Record of Broken Promises
Protesters took the Salvadoran nation by storm last week in response to a new law passed by conservative assemblymen. This measure asserted that no resolution could be declared unconstitutional without a unanimous vote in the constitutional court—a judicial body responsible for reviewing the legitimacy of laws. Previously, any resolution seeking to define a law as unconstitutional required an 80% majority in the committee, which comprises five Supreme Court Justices. However, seditious Decree 743, hastily passed in a matter of hours on Thursday, June 2nd, requires an unattainable unanimous agreement. The Justices argued that this represented a threat to the separation of powers and to the system of checks and balances in the Salvadoran government, and thus declared Decree 743 unconstitutional by a four to one vote. Four of the Justices who voted to annul the decree are presently liberal and the Justice who voted in opposition is conservative.
This legislation was designed in response to fears that the Supreme Court would attempt to dismantle the 1993 Amnesty Law, which absolves all war criminals, some of whom are currently elected officials, from legal retribution. In addition, authors of the law were concerned that Supreme Court Justices would have the opportunity to reexamine the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) and the dollarization of the economy. A series of progressive resolutions, issued thanks to a liberal majority in the Supreme Court’s constitutional committee, threatened both conservatives and liberals on the bench. Civilian organizations and citizens predicted that Decree 743 would indefinitely halt constitutional procedures by preventing and therefore threatened to ignite the fire of a popular uprising.
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This analysis was prepared by COHA Research Associate Gabriela D. Acosta.