Conflict Between Legislative Assembly and Supreme Court of Justice Resolved in El Salvador

On August 21st 2012, the Legislative Assembly of El Salvador held new elections for Magistrates of the Supreme Court of Justice, thus complying with the ruling issued by the Supreme Court on June 5, 2012. By doing so, the Legislative Assembly has ended the existing conflict with the Supreme Court, fully respecting the Constitution of the Republic, the separation of powers and the rule of law.

The elections were the result of 17 negotiation meetings, called by and mediated by President Mauricio Funes, with all the political parties represented in the Legislative Assembly. The final agreement called for new elections of the Magistrates selected previously in 2006 and 2012, electing the new President of the Supreme Court of Justice, and maintaining the rest of the Magistrates of the Constitutional Chamber. The election of the new Magistrates received unanimous or almost unanimous legislative support, expressing a solid consensus for the agreement.

With this important step taken by the Legislative Assembly, the rulings of the Constitutional Chamber issued on June 5th of 2012 have been complied with. Therefore, the discussion of the matter that had confronted the Legislative Assembly and the Supreme Court of Justice has been resolved in a way that reinforces the independence and separation of powers of the branches of government.

It is important to note the leadership of President Funes in the resolution of this conflict. The President called for, served as mediator and put in full disposition of the negotiating process the capacities and resources of his government. Thanks to his effort and the will of the political parties to find a solution, we were able to overcome a new obstacle in the consolidation of our democratic process.

El Salvador is a young democracy, which for the first time, after decades of control of a single sector and its allies of all the state institutions, is achieving a real independence of powers. Situations such as that experienced between the Supreme Court and the Legislative Assembly are the result of an accommodation of the institutions to a new reality, within a system of checks and balances.

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