Autocracies, old and new

Bukele's reforms in El Salvador

Expositor / Institución
Mg. Luis Eduardo Ayala
Seminarios UCEMA

The Republic of El Salvador is characterized by authoritarian cultural patterns, oligarchic governments based on family succession (19th century), single-ruled military dictatorships (1931 - 1944) and party-based military dictatorships (1950 - 1979), communist containment civil governments (1984 - 1989), politically neoconservative and economically liberal administrations (1989 - 2009); as well as discursively socialist and administratively pragmatic governments (2009 - 2019). They reveal the existing scenario prior to the irruption of the Bukele administration, whose main distinctive sign before the attentive eyes of politicians, analysts and citizens of the Central American region is his enormous popularity built on the basis of radical decisions in matters of security, governance, land management and foreign relations.

Recently, President Nayib Bukele, in the context of his speech facing the Legislative Assembly regarding the fourth year of his presidential term – with one  year left to complete his mandate – announced for the first time the electoral reform in municipal and parliamentary matters. This reform is to be celebrated ahead of the elections to be held in 2024. This reform substantially reduces the number of Representatives from eighty-four to sixty, as well as inflicting a significant decrease in the number of Municipalities in the country.

The common denominator of both reforms, in the logic of the president - although in these lines reference will be made strictly to the legislative electoral reform - is oriented towards a responsible adaptation of the number of legislators regarding the population, making an adequate use of public resources insofar as remuneration is concerned, as well as attacking the logic that is at the base of the distribution of seats under the electoral formula of quotients and residues (Hare – greater residues), which guaranteed negotiation spaces, privileges and perpetuity to politicians without adequate representativeness.

Mg. Luis Eduardo Ayala

Lawyer and Master in Political Science. Coordinator of the Master's Degree in Political Science and Public Management. Researcher on governance, electoral systems and public policies. University Professor. Undergraduate courses: Political Science, Theory of the State and Electoral Law. Graduate courses: Political Systems, Public Policies and Political Theory. Research Unit Coordinator Faculty of Jurisprudence and Social Sciences 2011 - 2015. Member of the Central American Network of Political Science - Speaker at: VI Central American Congress of Political Science (2013, Nicaragua), VIII Central American Congress of Political Science (2017, Guatemala), IX Central American Congress of Political Science (2021, El Salvador).

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