Just over a year after overseeing El Salvador’s adoption of bitcoin, the Central American country’s 41-year-old president, Nayib Bukele, recently declared his intention serve another five-year term. The announcement has been criticized by some who have been quick to remind Bukele that El Salvador’s constitution prohibits presidents from serving consecutive terms.
A Common Practice in Developed Country is the Re-Electing of Presidents
El Salvador’s bitcoin-embracing leader, President Nayib Bukele, recently revealed that he plans to serve another five-year term even though the country’s constitution bars presidents from serving consecutive terms. The announcement by Bukele, who reportedly enjoys high approval ratings, has been slammed by opponents and critics who accuse him of undermining the country’s democratic institutions.
According to an Al Jazeera report, the 41-year-old leader made the announcement while delivering a speech about El Salvador’s independence. Bukele stated that his intention to serve consecutive terms was justifiable, as this is a common practice in advanced countries.
“I’m announcing to the Salvadoran people that I’ve decided to run as a candidate for president of the republic. Re-elections have been won by developed countries. And thanks to the new configuration of the democratic institution of our country, now El Salvador will too,” Bukele reportedly said.
In another report, Bukele is quoted suggesting that while resistance and opposition to his plans by developed countries might be inevitable, he remains unperturbed by this because “they’re not the ones who get to decide. The people of El Salvador do.”
However, just as Bukele anticipated when he made the announcement, critics that include the U.S. government have challenged his threat to override a clause in El Salvador’s constitution, which specifically forbids presidents from serving consecutive terms. The United States-based think-tank the Atlantic Council has characterized Bukele’s plan as the “final step of his power grab.”
Fitch Ratings Downgrades El Salvador’s Debt to CC
Meanwhile, the controversy sparked by Bukele’s re-election bid came just a few days after the credit ratings agency Fitch Ratings downgraded El Salvador’s debt to CC. According to a Bloomberg report, this rating means the Central American state’s debt is seen as riskier than that of war-torn countries such as Ukraine and The Republic of Congo.
Before Fitch Ratings’ latest downgrade, El Salvador also faced widespread criticism over its decision in June 2021 to adopt bitcoin as legal tender. Bitcoin.com News reported that institutions such as the International Monetary Fund have criticised the move. They claim it poses a threat to financial stability.
The IMF’s subsequent call on El Salvador to abandon its bitcoin law was rebuffed by the Bukele government. El Salvador’s government did not succumb to increasing pressure from IMF, but instead took steps to inform citizens about bitcoin. Chivo, the official wallet application that allows citizens to access bitcoins, was also used by El Salvador government.
El Salvador is the country that first designated bitcoin legal tender. conferenceThere were 44 representatives from central banks. However, the country’s much-talked-about bitcoin volcano bonds are yet to come to fruition. As per a Bitcoin.com News report, El Salvador’s treasury officials have previously blamed the Ukraine-Russia war for causing the latest postponement of the issuance of the bonds.
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