New Salvadoran Assembly aligned with Bukele ejects top judges

San Salvador, May 1 (EFE).- The Salvadoran ruling party took the reins of the Legislative Assembly on Saturday, and its first action was to vote for the removal of five top Supreme Court of Justice (SCJ) Constitutional Chamber judges and attorney general Raúl Melara.

In the past year, President Nayib Bukele has clashed on more than one occasion with these officials due to judicial decisions and investigations by the Public Ministry.

Analysts and human rights defenders warned that with their dismissal, the country is left without checks and balances on the actions of the government and the Legislative Assembly.

Bukele warned other countries not to interfere, writing on Twitter that the assembly was ‘cleaning house.’

“To our friends from the International Community: We want to work with you, trade, travel, get to know each other and help where we can. Our doors are more open than ever,” Bukele wrote.

“But with all due respect: We are cleaning our house … and that’s none of your business.”

Sixty-four of the 84 legislators that make up the Legislative Assembly voted for the dismissal of the judges and the chief prosecutor, who had been elected by previous legislatures.

Minutes later, the Constitutional Chamber declared the vote unconstitutional, setting the stage for clashes in the top levels of the country.

Those dismissed were SCJ president José Armando Pineda and magistrates Aldo Enrique Cáder, Carlos Sergio Avilés, Carlos Ernesto Sánchez and Marina de Jesús Marenco.

Eduardo Escobar, a lawyer and director of the Citizen Action Association, warned that the situation could worsen if the security forces get involved in the foreseeable crisis that the country will face. He said the vote could be considered a “breach of the constitutional order” and a “technical coup.”

The National Association of Private Enterprise union cataloged in a statement the actions of the new Legislative Assembly as a coup d’état.

Abraham Ábrego, from the Cristosal human rights organization, said the country is “shaping the path towards a dictatorship.”

The opposition parties, which with 20 deputies are unable to stop these decisions, also denounced a “coup.” EFE


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