Salvadorans abroad will be able to aspire to public office

SAN SALVADOR (HPD) — Salvadorans residing outside the country will be able to vote and run for elected office starting in the February 2024 elections, according to a law approved Tuesday by the Legislative Assembly in compliance with a Court ruling Supreme Justice.

The Special Law for the Exercise of Suffrage Abroad was approved with the vote of 66 of the 84 deputies of the Unicameral Congress. Ten opposition legislators voted against, four abstained and four did not attend.

The opposition parties criticized the regulation, among other things, because it will not allow the municipal councils or the Central American Parliament (PARLACEN) to vote, and they assured that they would not be able to control the voting system.

“I voted against it because it doesn’t allow the diaspora to vote for municipal councils and PARLACEN; it sends all the remote votes to San Salvador instead of recognizing the rootedness of each Salvadoran and opens doors to errors and fraud,” said Deputy Claudia Ortiz of the conservative VAMOS party.

For his part, the president of Congress, Ernesto Castro, of the ruling Nuevas Ideas party, celebrated the new norm. “It was a historic day. We have returned to our brothers abroad the right to participate in the governability that our country is now experiencing,” he said at the conclusion of the debates.

The law will be applicable for the elections of president, vice president and Legislative Assembly of 2024. Citizens will need their Unique Identity Document (DUI) or valid or expired passport to participate in a remote online voting system and an in-person electronic voting system .

Salvadorans residing abroad who wish to run for elected office may register without further requirements than those established in the Constitution of the Republic, the Electoral Code, the Political Parties Law and the applicable regulations.

Salvadorans with a DUI with an address abroad will be able to vote anywhere in the world via the Internet, and those with a DUI with an address in El Salvador and with a passport will be able to vote electronically in person at voting centers abroad.

The law orders the Supreme Court to create a registry of residents abroad, so that citizens will no longer have to request to be included in the electoral roll as happened in 2014, when the vote of Salvadorans began to be implemented in the outside.

It is estimated that almost three million Salvadorans live in other countries and that only 2.5 million reside in the United States, sending the country billions of dollars in remittances every year.

According to the law, Salvadorans who reside abroad and whose domicile according to the DUI is outside the national territory will assign their vote to the constituency of San Salvador, as will those who exercise their vote with their passport.

Salvadorans who reside abroad and whose domicile according to the DUI is in national territory will assign their vote to the domicile contained in said document.

The Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) set the presidential and legislative elections for February 4, 2024. On March 3 of the same year, the 262 municipal councils and the 20 deputies for the Central American Parliament will be elected.

Riding the wave of popularity due to his fight against gangs, the president, Nayib Bukele, recently announced that he will seek re-election despite the questioning of his opponents who maintain that the Constitution prohibits him.

Bukele – who assumed power on June 1, 2019 and maintains a high level of popularity that has not dropped below 80% – has already received the support of some sectors to seek re-election, while members of the opposition see his aspirations as a new mandate as a democratic deterioration.

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