Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Court reforming El Salvador's democracy

The Constitutional Chamber of El Salvador's Supreme Court continues to issue rulings which increase the ability of citizens to participate in the democracy and lessen the power of  party leadership.   In a unanimous ruling by all five judges on Tuesday, the Chamber held that El Salvador's Law of Political Parties is unconstitutional for failing to include provisions requiring transparency in the finances of the political parties and in failing to require representative democracy in party's internal elections to choose leaders and candidates for office.  

The National Assembly will now have two months to amend the Law of Political Parties to comply with the Chamber's ruling.   The ruling will not affect the choice of candidates for the March 2015 elections, however.

The  Constitutional Chamber, in a series of rulings, has strengthened the voice of individual voters by allowing them to vote for individual candidates for National Assembly rather than closed lists assembled by the parties, and by allowing independent candidates not affiliated with any of the parties.  The decisions have angered old guard party officials from both ends of the political spectrum, but they have grudgingly complied.   This latest ruling is likely to produce similar reactions.

This week's ruling came as the result of a petition filed by the Social Initiative for Democracy, a civil society organization promoting democratic processes in the country.

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