May 13, 2021

A Bukele tweet raises tensions with El Salvador’s Parliament

A tweet by the Salvadoran president, Nayib Bukele, in which he alerted to suspected suspicions of COVID-19 in Parliament on Thursday night and that precipitated the closing of a session in which he would vote on a controversial presidential veto, increased tensions between these state organs and raised the tone among the opposition legislators.

The president assured in his Twitter account that an epidemiological containment team detected a “significant suspicion of # COVID19 in the blue room of the Legislative Assembly.”

“The closing of the plenary and the self-isolation of all the deputies and staff are recommended, while the suspicious cases and their links are ruled out or confirmed,” added Bukele.

After this publication, according to reports from the local press, several deputies decided to leave the legislative chamber, so the president of Congress, Mario Ponce, closed the session for this week and called another for this Friday.

The message and the abrupt end to the meeting in Parliament came at a time when legislators were preparing to vote to overcome the presidential veto of an initiative that sought to facilitate the return of some 4,500 Salvadorans who stayed abroad for the pandemic.

Rejecting the veto with more than 56 votes would send the initiative to the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ) so that this entity determines which of the bodies is right.

This is a new episode in the rocky relationship that the Government and the Government maintain, especially since last February, when the President entered with the military and armed police as a measure of “pressure” to obtain funds for security.


The opposition legislative fractions rejected Bukele’s message, which was given after the publication of a video on social networks of a deputy from the opposition Farabundo Martí Front for National Liberation (FMLN) coughing on several occasions.

This is Yanci Urbina who, despite the fact that the president’s tweet made no direct reference to her, was aggrieved this Friday during a new session of the legislative plenary.

“I categorically reject the attack on my dignity and integrity … I also reject and condemn the attack on this Legislative Assembly,” said the deputy.

Carlos Ruiz, also from the FMLN, called Bukele’s message “criminal conduct.”

The opposition party with the most legislators, the Nationalist Republican Alliance (Arena), and one of its members, René Portillo Cuadra, added that the condemnation was an attempt by a “coup d’état”.

“What changed is that on February 9 the Armed Forces and the Police entered abruptly and violently by order of the President of the Republic. Yesterday he used fear, he used other deputies to try to destabilize this State organ,” he stressed. .

Norman Quijano, former president of the Legislative Assembly and deputy of Arena, called the Bukele government “autocratic”.

Deputies from the minority Party of National Concertation (PCN) and Christian Democratic Party (PDC) also criticized the Salvadoran president, while the official Grand Alliance for National Unity (GANA) tried to lower the level of the discussion.


Before the start of the plenary session this Friday, called on Thursday night, the Salvadoran president sent a mobile COVID-19 test unit so that the deputies could undergo the test.

However, only a few pro-government deputies made use of the equipment.

“Most deputies have declared themselves ‘healthy’ by legislative decree. Thank God they are not in charge of the pandemic. We would be the country with the most deaths per capita in the world by # COVID19,” Bukele said as the session of Congress was developing.

The Government also maintains a rocky relationship with the Supreme Court after ignoring and failing to comply with an order from the Constitutional Chamber to stop the “forced” arrests and confinements of people who skip quarantine.

With tests carried out on Thursday, El Salvador detected 11 new COVID-19 infections, bringing the total to 261 cases and 8 deaths.


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