El Salvador on Sunday will hold parliamentary and local elections amid an escalation of tensions between President Nayib Bukele and the opposition-controlled National Assembly.
Since Bukele came into office, he has attacked the Parliament, which he accuses of “obstructing his efforts to govern.” On Feb. 9, 2020, he stormed into its headquarters with soldiers to put pressure on lawmakers to pass a law.
The incident was cataloged by lawmakers as “a violation of the Constitution and an attempted parliamentary coup.”
Violence and accusations of possible fraud promoted by Bukele have also marked the electoral campaign scenario in El Salvador.
On January 31, two leftist Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) militants were killed amid a confrontation with agents of the Bukele administration.
This morning, CIS held the first press conference to introduce the 14th International Mission of Observers for the upcoming 2021 elections. During the event several news outlets were present. Observations and recommendations were given to improve the election process. pic.twitter.com/YfjG1zSjyx
— CIS (@CISElSalvador) February 18, 2021
Despite Bukele’s behavior, polls show that the ruling New Ideas Party leads in voting intentions for the National Assembly, which is composed of 84 members.
The rest of the political movements, including the opposition right-wing Republican Nationalist Alliance (ARENA) and the FMLN, are behind it by over 60 points.
If ‘New Ideas’ reaches the majority in Parliament, Bukele would strengthen his power amid criticism of leading an authoritarian administration.
Bukele formed New Ideas after winning the 2019 presidential elections to “end the bipartisanship of ARENA and FMLN,” even though he was formerly a member of the leftist party.