The protests continue over the action of the Salvadoran National Assembly to try and change the rules to make it more difficult for the country's highest court to rule laws unconstitutional. The law, called Decree 743, would require a unanimous vote of the court's five judges to invalidate an unconstitutional law.
The four judges responsible for the major rulings of the Constitutional Court ruled that Decree 743 was itself invalid and proceeded with only four votes to accept a suit involving presidential spending. The position of the judges sets up an institutional crisis with no particular way to solve it if the National Assembly and Funes do not back down.
The possibility of the National Assembly backing down was described by Alfredo Cristiani, the former president and current leader of ARENA. In an interview with La Prensa Grafica, Cristiani indicated that ARENA is going to reverse its position and now introduce a bill to repeal Decree 743. Together with the votes of the FMLN, which already opposed Decree 743, there would be sufficient votes for a repeal, assuming Funes does not veto it.
Organization of opposition to the decree including petition signings and demonstrations is happening on Twitter using the tags #acampadasv and #indignadoSV. A photo gallery of one of those demonstrations appears at El Faro.
El Salvador's Supreme Court today released a press statement showing the votes of the Constitutional Court judges ruling on the constitutionality of various matters. Of 26 cases, in 16 cases the five judges had been unanimous and in 10 cases four of the five judges had signed the opinion.
Dozens of civil society organizations signed a joint communique denouncing the decree as an attack on the institutions of democracy and an attack on the balance of powers among the branches of the Salvadoran government. The political science faculty at the University of Central America pronounced its views on the legislative attack on judicial independence.
As I have mentioned, much of the opposition has been organizing on the Internet. Diana Godoy Chicas wrote this on her blog:
We started a movement. We created a social media movement that some have called #Twitterazo. #AcampadaSv and #IndignadoSV became a hash tags in Twitter to keep the people informed. If the national media was not informing, we started doing it. We became a group of independent people without any political affiliation, without any color and without an organization behind us. The only thing that matter was having our flag blue and white in the heart. We were all together, without knowing who started it, just knowing that something was maybe being born there. Each one trying to contribute in their own way.Perhaps we should call this the "El Salvador Spring."
We only want to fight for our democracy and therefore we only have to options: live this change without doing something or generating a real change. We have decided to take the hard road or as Robert Frost would say “we are taking the one less traveled by”.
We are writing the history of our country; we want something better for the future generations. And that is the beginning of the real change: To care!. On Friday, a few hours after the news about the approval of the decree by the President started, #AcampanadaSV manage to assemble more than 200 people to protest against the decree 743. Yes, we are young efficient people and we know that even though we do not have any of the three state powers, we have the power to inform....
So you may ask me what I did this weekend, and I will tell you that I wrote #history. I stood up for the Democracy of my country. And it was worth it.