ARENA Pushing to Gain Control over More Offices of Government

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Social Movement and FMLN Denounces Anti-Democratic Practices

Despite popular opposition, the right wing in the Legislative Assembly is trying to force through a number of constitutional reforms, Supreme Court nominations, and international loan agreements before Monday, when the FMLN will again have more than one third of the votes in the Legislative Assembly. Monday, May 1st is the day all newly elected deputies and mayors begin their terms. The appointment of nominees for the Salvadoran Supreme Court of Justice should not happen until the end of June, when the current magistrates' mandate ends, but ARENA wants to avoid having to negotiate with the FMLN in the coming legislature.

The Supreme Court magistrates' election is not the only legislation being pushed for by the right before next Monday. ARENA is also pushing for the approval of $350 million in international loans and constitutional amendments to allow for telephone intervention and spying, both of which require a qualified majority (2/3) vote for approval. The FMLN has long been opposed to the government's irresponsible dependence on international loans. In particular, FMLN deputies have denounced that a substantial amount of these $350 million is slated for consulting services. Since Wednesday night social movement organizations have been outside the Assembly to protest the dirty deal-making going on.

These last-minute, pre-May 1st deals have been going on for the past few weeks. Last Thursday, the right wing approved a known ARENA party activist for Attorney General - Garrid Safie - who has been widely criticized for his lack of independence and experience with the criminal justice system. Social movement organizations, civil society groups, court employees and the political opposition have all denounced ARENA for undemocratically securing control of more and more government institutions and further eroding the rule of law and institutional autonomy. "ARENA, PCN, PDC and the G-13 violated the established process and, after under-the-table negotiations, irregularly and illegitimately elected the Attorney General," reads the FMLN denouncement.

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