(CNN Spanish)– El Salvador’s Legislative Assembly, with an official majority, approved this Wednesday to reduce the number of deputies from 84 to 60 starting with the 2024 elections.
The measure passed with 66 votes out of 84. President Nayib Bukele had asked for it during his speech for the fourth year of government.
Pro-government lawmakers described the decision as historic. “This reform aims to guarantee Salvadorans equal voting rights,” said Marcela Pineda, a deputy from Nuevas Ideas, President Bukele’s party.
According to deputies who supported the reforms to the electoral law, the changes ensure that votes have the same value and allow candidates to compete on equal terms.
“No more trash MPs,” Bukele wrote on Twitter Tuesday, referring to the system of allocating lawmakers when counting votes in an election.
However, some opposition MPs in the Assembly criticized the fact that the approval was carried out without a preliminary study and warned that the new allocation system will affect small parties.
According to the reforms, the approved method provides that the calculation must be proportional starting from 2024. In this way, the number of votes cast in each of the 14 departments will be divided by the number of deputies to be elected per department. This will give you which candidates would win a deputation.
After the approval of the reforms, the president of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal issued instructions to adopt the changes to the electoral plan in order to comply with the new provisions.
In November 2012, the Constitutional Chamber indicated that the allocation of seats, both by quotient and by residual, as established in the country’s Electoral Code, aims to guarantee the participation of minorities, without implying disparities in the value of votes.
In this sentence, the magistrates warn that the fundamental purpose of the proportional representation system is that there is the greatest possible correspondence between the number of votes and the seats obtained by the various political contenders.
Ruth López, anti-corruption and justice chief of the organization Cristosal, told CNN that the reforms approved by the Assembly have as a background an electoral calculus by the ruling party, to ensure that it will maintain control of the Assembly so that President Bukele prolongs the concentration of power.
“He must ensure that the supervisory institutions do not function again and for this he must have full control of the Legislative Assembly. You cannot lose deputies because that would imply the election of independent people to head the responsible institutions,” López said.
The deputies remained awaiting the discussion on the reduction from 262 to 44 of the number of mayors from the next elections, also requested by the Executive.
In 2024, El Salvador will once again elect a president and a vice president, representatives of the Legislative Assembly, mayors and representatives of the Central American Parliament.